Hello, I discovered this website through TED, where I watched a talk by Britta Riley about window farming. As soon as I heard that window farmers have been able to grow strawberries that fruited for 9 months under low-light conditions, I was hooked. I am eager to get started on creating my own window farm.
I looked at the instructions for window farms 3.0, here, briefly. My first questions regard the use of plastic water bottles.
I did a quick search on the internet and found that plastic water bottles are typically made of Polyethylene terephthalate, commonly referred to as PETE or PET. Then, remembering hearing that plastic water bottles should not be reused, I did another quick search on what compounds are released when water is stored in plastic bottles for “too long” and what accelerates the rate of release of such compounds. The main thing I found was that dioxins are released by plastic water bottles, and doixins have been found to cause breast cancer in women, but I’m sure dioxins do not just affect women. I did another quick search on plant up-take of dioxins, and found that there is substantial literature regarding this issue as a health concern for humans. Not knowing the chemical structure of dioxins or their properties, I do not know what kinds of chemicals can be used to either chemically alter the dioxins into a safe form or to “sop up” the dioxins so plant up-take is reduced or eliminated.
My questions, then, are:
Is it safe to have plants growing in PETE bottles, with water constantly running through the bottles, extracting dioxins?
Does the design account for dioxin release? If so, how, and by what chemical/physical mechanism?
Is there a safer plastic to use than PETE, or another composition overall, for example glass?
Please do not hesitate to answer any of these questions (especially the last one) with something technically challenging (for example, using glass bottles would be difficult because cutting the glass would present a challenge). I will consider technical limitations at a later time.