A common problem that gardeners and homeowners have with treated wood is how to dispose of it properly. Burning might be the easy option, but because treated wood is laden with toxic chemicals, it is actually quite dangerous to do. In fact, it is illegal to burn treated wood (although many people do it anyway). So how do you dispose of treated wood safely? Unfortunately there are only a handful of ways in which this can be done, and they may not be available in all states or provinces.
The Dangers of Burning Treated Wood
Burning treated wood releases toxic chemicals in the air, and the resulting smoke and ash are just as toxic, with the potential to be fatal to anyone who inhales it. Some recycling plants convert treated wood into mulch, but that only results in the chemicals making their way back into the soil of local gardens.
The safest way to dispose of treated wood is in special landfills with protective liners. The liners prevent contaminants from spilling into the soil and water, which could happen at landfills with no such lining. Check with your municipality to find the location of one near you.
Have large, specially-marked bins for storing treated wood until you can find an appropriate landfill that will be able to take it. If possible, cut the wood into smaller pieces before placing them inside the bins. When cutting the wood, wear a dust mask to avoid inhaling the chemicals.
Use Safe Alternatives To Wood
There are safer alternatives to treated wood. They include softwoods such as redwood and cedar, salvaged wood treated with safe materials, recycled plastic, stone, metal and wood treated with chemicals of lower levels of toxicity.
Unfortunately there isn’t an abundance of resources available for properly disposing of treated wood. The best solution is to avoid using wood that has to be treated. Whether you are constructing a garden bed, shed or some other structure, use an alternative material if possible.
Today there are usually multiple materials available for anything, so it is possible to avoid using wood altogether. Not only would it save you the hassle of having to find a way to dispose of it properly, it is good for the environment. If you need more information about safe disposal or would like to find out about alternatives then give us a call or visit our website.