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Can You Burn Pressure Treated Wood?

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The simple answer is no. It is very harmful to inhale the toxic fumes from burning pressure treated wood. I know it’s tempting as an easy way to get rid of leftover wood from a backyard project, but it’s not worth the risk.

Pressure treated wood is considered hazardous materials by the EPA and it should only be discarded at specific waste collection centers. Here in Florida, it is prohibited to burn pressure treated wood. The quote below is directly from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Open burning of biological waste, hazardous waste, asbestos-containing materials, mercury-containing devices, pharmaceuticals, tires, rubber material, residual oil, used oil, asphalt, roofing material, tar, treated wood, plastics, garbage, or trash is strictly prohibited. 

Florida Department of Environmental Protection

I will be honest to say I’m not sure what the difference is between prohibited and illegal, but I believe it’s also considered illegal. Regardless, if it wasn’t illegal, it’s still very toxic to inhale treated wood smoke.

Can You Burn 20 year old Pressure Treated Wood?

The answer is still no. Older pressure treated wood still has the same amount of chemicals in it as newer wood. The chemicals don’t go away with time. In fact, the older pressure treated wood has even more dangerous chemicals than the newer ones.

Arsenic is no longer used in residential pressure treated wood but it was 20 years ago. It is very harmful to inhale arsenic fumes from burning 20 year old pressure treated wood.

How To Dispose of Pressure Treated Wood?

pressure treated wood scraps

So, now you know you can’t burn treated wood but how do you get rid of that torn down 20 year old pressure treated deck? Your city or county should have a waste center that handles all hazardous waste.

If you Google “hazardous waste disposal” near me or your city in the search bar, it should come back with where to take your treated wood. If you live outside of a city, there should be a disposal center in the county that you reside.

My local hazardous waste center charges for disposing of pressure treated wood but many other types of hazardous waste is free. I don’t mind paying a small fee to know that the treated wood will be disposed of in the right way.

If you have a lot of debris like a demo’d deck, you’ll need a truck and trailer to haul it to the dump or you can rent a roll off dumpster. They can range from $300-$600 depending on the size but they’re very convenient for large demolition projects.

Conclusion

Hopefully you’ve learned two things from this article. The first is NEVER burn pressure treated wood. Second is knowing how to find out where you can take your leftover treated wood for proper disposal.

If you’re using pressure treated wood in your outdoor projects, we have several articles that cover it in detail. Like how long does pressure treated wood last or how long to wait to stain your fence or even is staining or painting better for pressure treated wood.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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