View Full Version : Incinerator Ashes
I am interested to know what folks do with their incinerator, barbie and pot belly stove ash.
As a kid, we used ash in gardens, but the US piloted a huge move to stop the use of incinerator ash in gardens some time back. They closed down many community gardens over there, as the things that were being burned (plastics, polys etc.) were found to contaminate the gardens.
The UK (I think?) reinstated the use of untreated wood ash.
I use a closed incinerator, have regular barbies and use a pot belly in winter. I have continued to add the wood ashes to the compost. The wood is all grown here, so I am hoping that is ok. I have a high shale area that is not in direct contact with any of my animals, and that is where I empty the incinerator. The bulk of the incinerator waste is plastics...mainly food packaging, that just can't be recycled. The area is on a high part of the property though...so I am wondering about runoff and leaching after rains.
What do others do? Is there a better way of handling this?
26-07-2005, 12:57 AM
Hi Rainbow Farmer,
I always dispose of my wood ash in the compost but I've never burnt anything other than wood or paper products or bones. I wasn't aware that you could burn the plastics. I'd be scared to do that incase it produces toxic fumes. Do you know the science behind this practice as I'd be interested in finding an alternative to landfill.
Yes, still here - but really should get my A into bed soon, or I'll be kicking myself and it tomorrow.
I figure you could wait a hundred years and plastics would not break down, so yes, I burn it. When I get home from shopping, I empty everything into jars (to discourage mice and cockies from hanging out here) and often end up with a couple of shopping bags full of wrappers. All containers can usually be recycled, and I use tins for seedlings, but pretty much everything (pasta, noodles, rice, biscuits, even toothbrushes) come with those thin plastic wrappers - and I end up with heaps of them.
They burn in seconds, and I have only emptied the incinerator twice in three years (the first time I had to sort through the previous owners junk and retrieve bottles, tins etc.) So...I don't know if it is a bad thing or not? I'm not sure what would be less impacted... the air or in the ground?
Be good to hear what folks do.
26-07-2005, 01:59 AM
All of that plastic wrapping stuff really irritates me.
I know that we're supposed to 'refuse, reuse & recycle' but it's a bit hard to 'refuse' to buy 'mint slice' bikies or those 6 & 12 packs of iced donuts that you can get from Woolies for $1.98!
Fortunately the later now have their PET number on the container (I don't know the correct term for it) and can go into the recycle bin, but the internal packaging that biscuits come in has to go in the rubbish bin because there are no numbers on them. Ditto for things like frozen meals and desserts which I rarely ever buy but I do like to keep some frozen pies and sausage rolls in the freezer for easy lunches on the weekends when we're working outside.
I am gradually reducing our use of margarine and going back to butter, but in the meantime, no margarine tubs are marked with anything less than a 6, which our recycle depot doesn't accept. Ditto for most yoghurt containers and cheese packaging. Our recycle depot only accept PET, 1, 2 & 3. Apparently the lower the number, the higher grade the plastic. PET is the piece de resistance, then it's 1, 2 ,3 etc up to 6. I haven't seen anything greater than a 6.
I also HATE it when you buy an electrical item like power lead and you have to cut the item out of that really tough plastic casing that's sealed all the way around. For my son's birthday, he had a party and almost every toy he received as a gift was in one of those wretched plastic packages.
I rarely throw away anything. Jars, ice cream containers, bubble wrap, large envelopes, can all be reused many times over. But there's a time that they eventually pass on and need to be disposed of. Plant pots and ice cream containers which are so commonly used, DON'T have number on them!!! It's disgraceful!!! !!!(& a few more for good measure!!!)
There are so many things I no longer buy because of this problem. Those new plastic wine bottle corks. What do you do with those? Certainly they wouldn't be accepted by the zoo for the elephants.
I've read that if you put something unacceptable into your council recycle bin, it contaminates the entire shipment and the whole lot then has to be disposed of. I wonder if anyone's got any further information on this?
I'd love to think that I could safely put all of the non recyclable items in the fire. I hope others can shed some more light on this subject.
Also, how do you dispose of the foam packaging which you get with a new electrical item?
26-07-2005, 02:36 AM
There's nothing wrong with burning wood and paper products and adding them to the soil, esp if you have acid soil. It does put some toxic stuff into the air, but you'll never compete with big business in that regard.
Burnt plastics do put toxins into the air, some really bad stuff. It's against the law here in the U.S. to burn them, but I know people do. It stinks horribly and irritates my sinuses. My neighbors burn everything -- even tins and glass bottles! I never understood that. Styrofoam is the worst!
If Oz SELLS stuff wrapped in plastic, what do your councils SAY you should do with it???
If you do have to burn plastics, I would do a totally separate burn for that, then remove the contents and bury it in a hole in an area you will never use.
Organic polymers are gradually replacing some plastics, but if the container doesn't say that's what it is, how would you know?
Whoever invented those plastic styrofoam packing "peanuts" should be killed.... preferably, several times. But if you get the polymer kind, just mix them with water until they dissolve, then water your plants with the liquid.
Companies really need to get their heads out of the clouds and see what they're doing. Maybe the owners of polluting companies should be forced to work in a landfill for a year... by hand.
26-07-2005, 04:08 AM
I agree!!!! It makes me so angry.
Who the hell do they think they are inflicting all of this crap on us? All you want is the item within, and you're lumbered with all this useless, costly and impossible to dispose of packaging crap.
I thought as much re the burning of plastics so I didn't really have my hopes up. Even crisps packets. It says on the pack 'fresher in foil', but it's not made of 'foil' it's made of silver coloured PLASTIC! All for the garbage bin!!!
Our councils in the Yarra Valley only accepts PET, 1, 2 & 3 type plastic containers. That is a very small proportion of what's out there, trapping consumers unaware. When I shop now, I not only look at the price of an item, I look underneath it as well. If I can't adequately dispose of it, I don't buy it. There are a few exceptions as mentioned in my previous post, being the chocolate 'mint slice' biscuits and the packaged pies and sausage rolls, of which I don't buy very often anyway. The rest of it, the soft plastic bag type packaging, you just can't seem to get away from.
Any suggestions would be greatly taken on board.
I am afraid that Queensland, (being the smart state and all :roll: )has a really pathetic recycling system.
Major cities distribute fancy bins which only accept milk containers (washed and without lids...so a lot of folks don't do it) and newspapers (which any recycler has a million and one uses for anyway).
Some regional areas have metal recycling and will accept cans. That is it.
Councils direct it into landfill pits, burn the pits and then cover it over and eventually sell the land to good meaning folks hoping to make a start on the land...
So either way...if you leave it to the council, it gets burned AND forms landfill.
We don't have, and have never had, the incentives to return bottles for recycling like SA (and Vic?), nor do kids earn their first pocket money here by collecting cans (and learning it 'pays' to recycle).
We are part of National initiatives like Landcares (?) Phone Book and mobile phone recycling projects, but on a state level it is really very slack.
I'm not even familiar with the PET thing you are referring to Tam...it must not apply here...well, Qld doesn't recycle any of the items you mention, so I guess it wouldn't.
When back in the city, I remember having a whole bin of plastic milk cartons refused by the pick up guy because ONE had a lid on it. He explained as you have, that it would destroy the load. The lids are the wrong plastic apparently. I asked him surely there were sorters for that, he said that the whole system was automated. Pretty slack, huh? You would think that recycling would at least involve and employ people. But it looks more as if it has been included at the bare minimum here... just enough to say they are doing something...and look like they care.
26-07-2005, 12:18 PM
Hey Rainbow Farmer,
That's such a shame. You would think in this day and age when there's so much awareness of the vulnerablilty of our planet, there'd be some sort of legislation in place controlling what the 'waste management' sections of each council do as far as recycling goes. I can't understand why there's so much variation not only between each state, but each shire as well.
I guess I can't complain too much. Our shire now even supports a company which provides (at a small fee) the recycling of disposable nappies! They not only recycle the nappies, but the wipes and plastic bags they're in plus the 'gooey absorbant stuff' inside. There has been a lot of publicity in the local papers. (of our shire anyway) What a great step towards creating community awareness. Apparently the scheme is becoming very popular amongst those who would traditionally fit into the 'throw away society'.
Many families I know of through playgroups etc, are for the first time in their life, questioning what happens with their garbage and have even gone out and bought a backyard compost bin. As a very famous man once said, "One small step for man, one great leap for mankind".
I have just enrolled my 3 year old for swimming lessons in our 'brand new' swimming complex in our local town having transferred from another where he's been going for the past 2 1/2 years. I was really excited this week to discover that all of their benches around the pools and in the changerooms are manufactured from recycled plastic. They look fantastic and seem very durable.
I realise that this sort of manufacturing can be very expensive initially, having huge overheads in it's setup stage, plus return a substantially smaller profit than other manufacturing industries, but surely our federal and state governments should be offering incentives to businesses to take on these sorts of functions by offering grants instead of spending the millions of dollars they do on..... Oh, just don't start me off! I mean, the technology is there, it's just not being used!
26-07-2005, 12:52 PM
There was a man who was upset at the lack of recycling in his county or state, so he put together a program by himself! He found companies that would accept the materials, then he practically beat the county into submission, showing them that there was actually some profit to be made. Very grudgingly, they went along with it, now he's got the whole state recycling!
As usual, it's only one or two people who light the fire, with government trying to put it out.
Do you HAVE to be stupid to work in government? Any government?
26-07-2005, 06:16 PM
burning plastic is very dangerous and the ash could permanently pollute your land.
when you burn substances containing chlorine ( plastic contain chlorine ) you risk forming a toxic by-product called a dioxin. One dioxin called tcdd is possibly the most toxic substance known to man.
here is a link with more info http://www.greenpeace.org.au/toxics/pdf ... _facts.pdf (http://www.greenpeace.org.au/toxics/pdfs/dioxin_facts.pdf)
plastics may take a long time to break down in landfill but it is still the safest method of disposal ...... burning of landfills is supposed to be banned because of the health risks from dioxin formation ........
and there have been numerous cases overseas of people getting sick after former garbage disposal sites have been split up and developed .... contaminated land from all sorts of former incineration sites and also former military sites is an enormous problem in the USA
sorry to sound a know it all but I am very involved in campaigning against contaminated sites
rainbow yours is on a very small scale but still not wise when you are trying to live in an ecologically sound manner ........
we do burn wood in fact we even cook with a wood stove bu we always make sure the wood is clean bush wood and hasnt been sprayed with pesticides
however we cant use our ash ........if we put it on the ground everything dies ! I think its because our soil is inclined to already be alkaline
26-07-2005, 06:46 PM
Hi RainBow (r u a Warrier?) Ash is great on everything, great npk,Pest control,soil conditioner too,plus others! I sprinkle mine everywhere around my property !/4 acre suburbI use wood for house heating in s/c fire.mines pure wood.I spread my ashes (he he) thinly around not in piles.
I try to be carefull what i burn in my bbq only the odd "can or two"after all
when i cook who can notice the cans melting thru the smokey haze lol.
We both now have stopped smoking ciggies $100 better off a week. and better for our air too.Neither of us drinks anymore.We live in a small townwent pub socialisng and (ozzie pub) and had 3 cups of coffee over 2 hours out. no more ute loads of party waste to the tips either..
How much do you burn over any time?
Hi Tamandco....... Ok An alternative (in my humble eye) to land fill is Either Ocean Fill or Air Fill. ANYother alternatives?
Yeah i love my sweets too. Hate Margarine especialy canola Hate Hard Butter hate soft butter use butter for supposed goodness knowing full well both can be dangerous to health
Oh Dear I thinking I am a CPS disease sufferer"Capitilist Pig Syndrome"
The feer of drowning in my own wastes.
I dont recycle,,,,I dont buy....If people dont purchase ,Companys cant sell,
if they cant sell, they dont make money. Companys hate recyclers.Those at the top, loose money..
Hi Sue No you dont need to be "stupid" to work for government .
Just Deaf Dumb And Blind.!! With short term memory loss advantagious.
Its The ones who control government that we should all be very weary/wary about.
In Australia we have a government chosen by the people in a free open Democrocy where every 4 years the adult population get to sit down and decide whome they will entrust with their"Lives" untill the next election
where they go thru the process again. I Rest My case :D :D :D :D .
ooops I forgot to take into cosideration the people of Oz, Only have 2 choices both clearly indicated by a free and Accountable Media..
Hooray We can all sleep well tonite. Yawns Nite Nite
So Yes I agree that ashes can be used for benifits in our gardens but thinly spread ,slowly but surely ..See recent post about the volcano ash
PS just saw frostys as im typing this up I like a man with Knowledge makes me feel knowlegable when im near Knowledgeables
So now you no
26-07-2005, 07:42 PM
PS just saw frostys as im typing this up I like a man with Knowledge makes me feel knowlegable when im near Knowledgeables [quote:29ggim3p]
Yeah Tezza, 'ceppin he is a SHE!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: [/quote:29ggim3p]
26-07-2005, 07:48 PM
I totally stuffed up the quote thingies then...stoopid puters LOL
Just realised something...
When we arrived here, the previous owners used to empty the incinerator at the base of a small group of palm trees. I remember thinking bugger, these things will die for sure... and removed a heap of bottles and junk from the ash.
Not really sure what to do with it, I just left it...and when a hen went broody under the palms I added a heap of hay so she could better build her nest. At some stage mowing clippings have gone in there too, and am not sure when, but it looks like one of the kids must have added newspaper. It still looks pretty crappy...BUT...the palm trees are twice the size of the those near the shed, and I'm pretty sure the previous owners said they all went in at the same time.
So maybe incinerator ash is good for palms :?:
05-09-2005, 09:09 PM
Yeah, I completely agree with frosty. I did a unit on landfill and waste management at uni, and burning plastics of any kind is a big no-no. Basically, although everyone is concerned about landfill, it's the safest option. Other countries, particularly small European ones have no option but to incinerate fair amounts of their waste, but the only reason they do it is because they don't have room for landfill. In this huge country of ours, we can spare some land for the ol' rubbish tip, although we're still not happy with the idea. At least our air's cleaner.
Another point to mention: Things may take hundreds of years to break down when they are buried and rely only on anaerobic decomposition and never see the light of day. But it's a different story when they're out in the sunshine and fresh air. Eg grab your plastic bags and do something with them outside. I found a whole lot of little rocks and pebbles (smooth) when we dug up some lawn for a vegie patch and I put little collections of them into plastic bags (so they weighed about a kilo each) and used them as weights to hold down my newspaper/weed mat mulch. I couldn't believe my eyes when only 2 weeks later, the plastic bags already had holes in them and were showing signs of wear and tear! I'm planning on just wrapping them up in another plastic bag, maybe a tougher bread bag this time. But you can literally see them breaking down.
Hmm, it actually just occurred to me that maybe decomposing plastic bags are not good for my seedlings - might have to research that one.
Anyway, I know this is not much help with the Mint Slice wrapper problem - drives me nuts, too.
Another things I'm having a go at is plaiting the plastic bags my husband brings home from the supermarket when he forgets to bring recyclable ones, and then maybe plaiting or sewing them again to form a kind of home-made weed mat. I know of someone who, as part of the Yr 12 art project, crocheted strips of plastic bread bags (or some sort of plastic bag - I forget) and made a hat! Ha HA! The many uses of plastic bags. If you're into haute coutour (or however you spell it) it might be the latest thing.
But it still doesn't solve the wrapper problem...
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