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Is it safe to grow veg for consumption in plastic containers ?

Discussion in 'Gardening Discussions' started by jambonsambo, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. jambonsambo

    jambonsambo Apprentice Gardener

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    I have two unused plastic wheelie bins and I was planning on cutting them in half to make 4 containers for growing potatoes in this week.


    Just one small thing playing in the back of my mind is the possibility of plastic leaching into the soil and contaminating the spuds.


    I was thinking that if I lined the containers with burlap sacks then this would act as a barrier to any leaching .


    Anyone have any insights ? Am I being overly paranoid or is the plastic of the wheelie bins possibly going to make the spuds toxic ? I assume its not BHP Phalantes free plastic

    I have found some information but no consensus on the issue;




    “Plastic that is safe to grow food in/with should have recycling numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5 on the bottom. Plastic with a 3 have PVC in them. In time chemicals leach out contaminating soil, which in turn contaminates the food. Styrofoam is made of plastic number 6 and have cancerous effects, Number 7 has bisphenol A which is harmful to the behavioural growth of children.”
     
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    • Logan

      Logan Total Gardener

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      Hi @jambonsambo
      Yes it's safe to use plastic containers, i always use them to grow food.

      What were you going to do with the Styrofoam?
       
    • Selleri

      Selleri Gardener

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      Hi @jambonsambo , welcome to the forum! :sign0016:

      A very interesting question, I trust that the knowledgeable members will give you plenty of valuable food for thought.

      For a layman, plastic is not very soluble material, so it would take time for any molecules in the plastic wall to seep through the moist soil and penetrate the roots and bulbs- and when the growing season is just some months, I can't see that happening.

      Lining the plastic walls with a permeable material would probably not help as any compound which is readily dissolved in a moist medium would go through the sacks as well.

      Out of interest, where is the quote from?
      “Plastic that is safe to grow food in/with should have recycling numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5 on the bottom. Plastic with a 3 have PVC in them. In time chemicals leach out contaminating soil, which in turn contaminates the food. Styrofoam is made of plastic number 6 and have cancerous effects, Number 7 has bisphenol A which is harmful to the behavioural growth of children.”

      A good question, thanks for asking!
       
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      • jambonsambo

        jambonsambo Apprentice Gardener

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        Hi thanks for your reply It's from greensideup dot ie the section called growing vegetables in containers I cant post links as I am a newbie to this forum.
         
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        • NigelJ

          NigelJ Total Gardener

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          The original quote appears to be here Which Plastics Are Safe For Gardening?
          As a guide anything used for drinking water or food storage should be safe for growing vegetables as Selleri said above anything leaching out of the plastic is unlikely to enter a plant during a growing season.
          The most likely way of anything entering your system from plastics is via water contamination rather than through plants absorbing the contaminants.
           
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          • Marley Farley

            Marley Farley Affable Admin! Staff Member

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            Hi @jambonsambo Welcome to gardeners Corner.. :SUNsmile:
            Well I only use food grade plastic for growing but I do know that the SULO recycle bins we have are made from robust polyethylene (PE) and these days each bin is made containing a significant amount of recycled plastic. So assuming no contaminates in them.. :scratch:
             
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