Debris and literal garbage in bagged topsoil.

Justasquid

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Nov 2, 2020
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Now that winter is over and I need to fill in bare spots from snow removal, I purchased some bags of top soil and grass seed to help heal my lawn in those spots. Today I found many other things besides dirt? I don’t mind the small rocks and wood pieces, but last year and also this year, I found quite a lot of garbage.

In 1 40lb bag today I found:
A half of a sharpie cap,
Various shredded pieces of plastic from what looks like Tupperware lids to very thin strips of what looks like plastic sheet.
Fishing line,
Some type of thin metal, almost looks like from A shredded pop can.
Very large rocks,
and other debris I couldn’t tell what they were, but did not look like dirt.
this is without really looking very hard either.

Last year, we purchased raised garden bed dirt as our daughter wanted to try a garden. I had to throw away several bags due to so much contamination, I couldn’t believe it was being sold for plants for consumption.

‘’I hate to think of the area these companies are getting their dirt if it’s loaded with this much garbage. I can only imagine what is in the dirt that I can’t see.

Has anyone else had these experiences? These have been several different companies that I have experienced this type of poor quality.
 

mcfarmall

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Sound like the topsoil source is a landfill! Have you contacted the company whose name is on the bag?
 

mikester

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Did you buy topsoil or compost/mulch? If the source is city compost you could end up with anything and everything.

Your best place to complain is the vendor where you bought it followed by the manufacturer. Is it too late to return and ask for a refund?
 
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skeets

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From what I understand, and you can take this with a grain of salt or 2. As it was explained to me, a lot of the bagged compost/dirt ect comes from areas where there has been some kind of natural disaster. Think hurricanes and the such, a company comes in, they grind up the trees and wood and GOK's what else. Then the ground/shredded stuff is sold off to a second or 3rd party that bags it up. Now if what I was told is true or not, that would explain the things you were finding
 

85Hokie

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I have had the same problem when buying bag "soil" from wallyworld and lowes - the dirt in the bag does not look like "dirt" - always has other stuff in it!!
 

Magicman

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Not defending nor condemming but "top soil" has to come from the top of the soil somewhere much of which is contaminated with various articles regardless of the source.
 

D2Cat

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If it were me, I'd put the collection in the previously emptied bag and return it to the place I purchased it. Let them see see what they are selling. Maybe they can get a better supplier, or adjust their prices, or let customer what they are buying.
 

Nicfin36

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I bought a few bags from Lowe's last year for some tomato plants. It wasn't much better. The "topspoil" was mostly shredded wood with some sand in it.
 

GeoHorn

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I’d worry about what chemicals or dioxins it might contain if I were applying it to my garden.
We buy from a local top-soil supplier who are local organic-crazies from Austin.... So I feel good about what they label “turkey-manure” or ”sterile composted“ soil they load into our trailer with a front-loader/bucket. (See...?? There ARE likeable things about tree-huggers and liberals!). LOL
 

Magicman

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Very little if any bagged "top soil" is actually that. It is mostly an assortment of shredded/ground/ composted mixture of dirt, sand, wood chips, sawdust, and whatever else is available. In essence it is production run and factory made.
 

Justasquid

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Sound like the topsoil source is a landfill! Have you contacted the company whose name is on the bag?
I agree, it doesn’t seem like top soil. I have not contacted the company. I could take the bags back, but these are just going on the lawn so I am filtering out the garbage. This has happened from different suppliers as Well.
 

Justasquid

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Did you buy topsoil or compost/mulch? If the source is city compost you could end up with anything and everything.

Your best place to complain is the vendor where you bought it followed by the manufacturer. Is it too late to return and ask for a refund?
It is top soil. It’s not too late. But I only bought 3 bags so I’m only out 6 bucks.
 

Justasquid

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I have had the same problem when buying bag "soil" from wallyworld and lowes - the dirt in the bag does not look like "dirt" - always has other stuff in it!!
definitely not what I would expect. I thought last years experience was an “oit of the ordinary” situation. Now a 3rd brand of top soil and the same garbage in it. I don’t mind the wood or organic materials, but plastics and metal should not be in there.
 

Justasquid

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Very little if any bagged "top soil" is actually that. It is mostly an assortment of shredded/ground/ composted mixture of dirt, sand, wood chips, sawdust, and whatever else is available. In essence it is production run and factory made.
I don’t mind the wood or organic materials, but the plastics and metal seem a bit over the top.
 
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Justasquid

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Ok So sitting here thinking, pictures are worth more than words and not having the garbage from the previous bag, I decided to cut open a new bag, sifted through the “topsoil” and removed the debris of bag 2. Various pieces of plastic. Some fiber material (the larger reddish piece) some metal pieces, a round piece of rubber about the size of a quarter in diameter but about a half inch thick, a solid plastic round piece that looks like maybe a piece of a plastic coat hanger. Really odd materials for a single bag of soil. I could understand a piece of something here or there. But this is ridiculous.

i guess I will have to purchase in bulk from a landscape company. It just sucks when all I need is a few cubic feet of material.
 

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D2Cat

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I guess I'm more fortunate. I have "top soil" that is processed hay produced by cattle or horses. It's gathered up, put in piles and turned over sometimes for a few years. May have a rock or two in a loader bucket full, but nothing like you're seeing.
 

Fordtech86

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I guess I'm more fortunate. I have "top soil" that is processed hay produced by cattle or horses. It's gathered up, put in piles and turned over sometimes for a few years. May have a rock or two in a loader bucket full, but nothing like you're seeing.
Thats just bull/horse $h!+ 😆
 

Magicman

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We have a very large "manufacturing/bagging" plant here. They buy bark from all of the sawmills plus any excess soil from construction sites is hauled/dumped there. They dye and bag various bark products and also "make" top soil. It is dumped/piled on one end, mixed and "composted" in the middle, and then ground/shredded and bagged on the other end. Whatever is in the "topsoil" is what was present when the ingredients were hauled in. There is certainly no sorting.
 

D2Cat

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Thats just bull/horse $h!+ 😆
You are absolutely correct!!

When I worked in an office in the big city and folks found out I came every day from a farm, I was soon selling them an emptied feed bag of that stuff for $5, and they were lined up to get it this time of year. (y)

One guy would brag about how big his tomatoes grew, and it got all the others wanting some of that "stuff".

It's not so much bull $hi+, but cow $hi+. Only have one bull to service 20 cows. Kind of like the Internal Revenue Service.
 
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Justasquid

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We have a very large "manufacturing/bagging" plant here. They buy bark from all of the sawmills plus any excess soil from construction sites is hauled/dumped there. They dye and bag various bark products and also "make" top soil. It is dumped/piled on one end, mixed and "composted" in the middle, and then ground/shredded and bagged on the other end. Whatever is in the "topsoil" is what was present when the ingredients were hauled in. There is certainly no sorting.
Well that certainly fits the mix of stuff I am seeing. It is concerning though just how much non soil is in the bag of "topsoil". Could you imagine your entire lawn having a piece of plastic or garbage every square inch?