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14 Mar 2006

Top Five Things to Do With Oil Barrels When There’s No More Oil To Fill Them – Over to you, any other suggestions?

barrelsSo, over the last few days I have offered five possible things that can be done with soon-to-be-redundant oil barrels, I’d be fascinated to hear yours. What do you use them for? How have you seen other people using them? People use them for all sorts of things, and of course I have only scratched the surface. The artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude made a huge art installation called “The Wall” that consisted of 13,000 oil barrels formed into a huge wall. I’m sure there are other far more practical and less ridiculous uses to which they can be put, so do let us know, from the sublime to the ridiculous, anything goes….

Categories: Peak Oil, Waste/Recycling

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Tom Atkins
14 Mar 8:30am

Of course with the advent of pipelines and super-tankers [oil isn’t stored or shipped in ‘barrels’ these days]( So there aren’t really any oil barrels. Oil is just measured in ‘barrels’ (42 US Gallons – about 159 litres).

The barrels in the art installation will be barrels that contained various products (mostly containing oil)…

My suggestion – based on the ‘Capture and Store Energy’ Permaculture principle – is to get hold of a suitably clean barrel and put it under a dripping drainpipe and collect rainwater. Put your barrel on a raised plinth and install a tap at the bottom and you can easily use gravity to get the water out into a bucket or pipe. Plants love rainwater and as the UK is already introducing hose pipe bans (in March!) I reckon this is something we could all do to help water our intensive veg. beds through the summer. 🙂

Sinbad Wilmot
14 Mar 8:56am

We will use them as cells to house the larvae of our giant bee masters, while we toil in the field gathering pollen and nectar for their rapacious appetities! Oh, wait, DONT eat the mouldy rye bread…..

Jeff Vail
14 Mar 7:50pm

I’ve heard that old barrels are great for growing blackberries, and potentially other difficult-to-contain plants. Removing only the top of the barrel, fill with dirt and plant blackberries inside. Then, as they droop over, just keep them pruned off the ground and they won’t create a spreading problem. Also, it seems that it places them in an easier ergonomic position for picking. I’ve also heard it suggested that the same technique (with more than just blackberries) creates an ideal forage for goats, especially if you stack the blackberry towers two barrels high–they can’t reach enough of the plant to damage it, but they effectively keep it pruned off the ground…

Karen Cohen
3 Jul 9:29am

As a gardening addict living in a condominium in south Florida, I was desperte for a place to compost. For a short time before we moved, I was the proud designer/builder/operator of my own composter. I used an old metal barrel. I don’t know if it was ever used for oil, but it had two sets of ribbed rings a couple of inches apart, each set less than a foot from each barrel end. This gave me the idea of “tracks” for wheels. I built a large, stout rectangular wooden box about waist-high with two-by-four’s and scrap boards, open at the top (to accommodate the bottom curve of the barrel), and accessible for storage of whatnot. It’s lxw dimensions were similar to the barrel’s. The barrel had only one solid end, which I kept. Four heavy duty furniture casters (wheels) were bolted to the top of the box near the top corners on the upper side and wheels facing up. The casters were spaced to exactly fit the wheels into the grooves already provided by the sets of ribbing around the barrel. I made a custom fitted wooden barrel-end for the open end. It was made in two pieces, each a half circle and hinged together. Before hinging together, I cut a smaller half-circle window in the “door” half and covered it with a metal mesh, leaving a 2 inch frame of the wood all around. This round wooden “door” was bolted to the barrel with angle braces – I think three did the job. I found, that, fully loaded (1/3 full) the barrel was just right for turning (by grasping the end ridges with two hands (so you need access to that side as well as the door end). I had to be careful doing this, since my barrel was a bit rusty. I used garden gloves, keeping them nearby. With a daily turn for air circulation, addition of garden refuse and kitchen scraps and an occasional jar of urine, I had finished compost in three weeks. Beautiful! I have another idea for oil barrels, but I will put it in my next post.

Karen Cohen
3 Jul 9:41am

Here is another idea for metal barrels, if you can get enough of them. Unlike my idea for a compost turner, I have not tried this idea. But I’m sure someone must have done it! Barrels painted black and stacked in a strong framework about four high with ends pointed south and filled with water would make, I think, I great trombe wall behind a glass faced south wall of a home. The thermal mass would heat up nicely in low winter sun and radiate through the house all day and night. It could easily be covered/disguised when not needed. Lots of folks think they would like a big south window wall to sit by in winter, but if you have ever been blinded by the sun pouring in, you might just favor a mediating influence like a trombe wall. Save your views for other directions.