My son used his little electric grinder - well, "little" is a 4" grinding head. Just turned it edge-on and cut an X on two sides, then hit it with a hammer a couple times, and the metal folded in so it wouldn't catch on anything when we moved the barrel. Worked great and had plenty of draw.
Burn barrels are illegal in some states because they cause so much air pollution. It goes up in smoke and then rain collects the toxic chemicals like dioxin and brings it down.
It is not illegal here and is quite common in rural areas. Just have to be smart about the wind and dry conditions to prevent fire from spreading. They post "no burn" days. Most cities have recycle centers for the items that can be recycled and "toxic waste" drop off sites to handle the nasty stuff. Burning paper and yard debris can lighten the load though.
to get it hotter an dcleaner burning you can enclose it more like a wood stove you could even get the barrel stove kit and make it a wood stove
i have seen some around here that just take a loop of small welded wire fencing and 2 t post they put it out at the edge of the yard and stuff the dry paper bags full of stuff in it then set on fire , a small peice of the fencing slides down over the t posts to keep flyers down,the grass around them burns back a bit and remains just dirt around them
as they are used every week or more , it works , not the worlds most efficiant burn but they get plenty of air and all you need to make them is a wire cutters heck the guy at the hardware store would cut the 1 inch hardware cloth for you
if it is nice clean paper like news print you should compost it , it would be paper not sutable for composting that i would burn.
and if you don't have a gun , thats a good tool to have around.
Must be nice to live where they take ALL plastics. The cities around me only take certain types of plastic for recycling and then only if you have spent the time to wash them all nice and pristine.
How about just giving everybody the option to buy stuff bulk without need for all the plastic packaging? HMM....
And if anybody is going to burn plastic, get a very hot fire going, then add the plastic. Much less pollution/stink that way. Burning plastics by letting them smolder doesnt do anybody any good. Annoys your neighbors, annoys the authorities, and creates lot pollution. Also leaves globs of melted plastic.
"What would you do with a brain if you had one?" -Dorothy
"Well, then ignore what I have to say and go with what works for you." -Eliot Coleman
Lay the barrel on its side on top of a couple concrete blocks. Put about three bricks in the bottom of the open end to keep the ashes from falling out. The barrel don't need any holes for air other than the open end. Put a couple posts beside it to keep it from blowing away during a storm. Everything you put in it will completely burn. If something happened to be to wet the day you put it in, it will dry out and burn the next time. The ashes don't require removal very often. A piece of welded wire hanging over the open end will keep critters from rummaging around in the ashes, and prevent burning paper from blowing out of the barrel.