What Garbage Can You Burn?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by 45n5, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. 45n5

    45n5 Well-Known Member

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    The wife and I have never had a fire more than a camp fire over the weekend in a community camp ground.

    Now we have 6 acres and our own 8x8 fire pit. BUT,

    What should and shouldn't we burn it it?

    Are plastics ok? Aluminum and metal? Any simple rules to live by when burning garbage?

    We would love to burn as much garbage as possible (we'll start composting soon also) but want to do it properly. Thanks.
     
  2. Jack T.

    Jack T. Well-Known Member

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    anything that burns. . .which means everything but metals.
     

  3. Modern Pioneer

    Modern Pioneer Well-Known Member

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    We burn too. I use 2 55 gallon steele drums. We seperate all our valuable recycables, copper,aluminum, steel. Save newspapers for the wood burner, and what doesnt go to the dogs, chickens or the compost the rest gets burnt. Disposable diapers will not burn. Some plastics are real nasty, smell and black smoke. Of course dont burn aerosol cans and the like. What we cant recycle,burn, or compost, goes into seperate bag and i drop it off at a gas station dumpster.

    Keep you powder dry
     
  4. Minelson

    Minelson Well-Known Member

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    We burn everything but glass, cans, big plastic (like laundry soap containers) cat litter, pressurized cans (like whip cream) and heavy metal things. We also just started sorting out the sales catalogs we get in the mail...shiny paper takes forever to burn.
     
  5. Use Less

    Use Less Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Honestly, you should burn as little as possible. Metals, especially aluminum, should be recycled. Aluminum costs 95% less to reprocess than to make, and metals don't actually burn in a garbage fire. Paper of all kind should be recycled. Newspaper can be composted or used to keep weeds down; tissues can be composted, too, especially if your compost pile gets a good internal temperature. Veg waste can go to chickens or into a compost pile. Do not burn plastics! They give off noxious and poisonous gases. Only in small quantities, of course, but it effects air quality and washes out with the rains to be in the soil, water, your food.... Burn dry wood in your fire pit. Yes, I live in the country, yes I burn garden and orchard waste (against pests & disease), and yes I recycle all the kinds of stuff I listed above. Sue
     
  6. Faithful One

    Faithful One Well-Known Member

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  7. wyld thang

    wyld thang God Smacked Jesus Freak Supporter

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    Do they have recycling where you are? here we recycle most plastics, cardboard, cans, aluminum, (no-deposit bottles are supposed to be added soon) and compost food waste. That leaves mostly paper. Other junk goes to the dump or Goodwill.

    Technically you "can" burn plastic and aluminum, but if someone sees you (here) you can get a ticket. It's nasty smoke too, poisonous.

    We also have a burn ban for 4 months out of the year, so we have a place to store garbage until we can burn. BUT we have to be very careful not to throw away food in that because animals will get into the garbage and make a mess.

    Re burning plastic--I'd love to see an honest study following the poisons of plastic following burning (as they disperse in the atmosphere and fall to earth) or take a gazillion years to break down in a landfill and leach into groundwater in a more concentrated form, as well as what puffs out when plastics are recycled.
     
  8. wyld thang

    wyld thang God Smacked Jesus Freak Supporter

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    oh yeah right, and volkswagen engine blocks burn super good and long too
     
  9. plowjockey

    plowjockey Well-Known Member

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    Food waste (garbage) almost never burns properly, the you just end up with a mess, that the animals drag around.

    I suggest digging a hole and throwing food refuse in. There, it's composting. ;)

    Marty
     
  10. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    This is a topic that (pardon the pun) has a tendency to get hot. I am telling you this because you are rather new to the site. Don't be offended if the environmentalist come on and tell how all burning is wrong, and don't get side tracked by the wise guys telling you to burn as many tires as you can.

    The best thing you can do is to make sure you have a good consistent hot fire that doesn't smolder. Smoldering puts more pollutants in the air than a good consistent hot fire.

    The keys to a good, consistent hot fire are a ready fuel (like some wood sticks, or light wood scraps to burn), and a lot of oxygen. The oxygen needs to be feeding the fire from below.

    Many people use 55 Gallon drums with holes in the bottom of the barrel. I try to have an order of my burning, all papers, cardboard, etc to first get it burning hot and then I place the other things in. Your biggest battle will be training your family (wife and kids) what to burn and what NOT to burn.
     
  11. Faithful One

    Faithful One Well-Known Member

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    Man we had a OLD 1960's Record player CONSOLE, it had the player, a 8-track, it was in a HUGE plastic cabinet, we lit that on fire, and man the blackest smoke ever!!!!

    Burned really good, that 1960's plastic, smoke was far worse than any tires we burned.
     
  12. wyld thang

    wyld thang God Smacked Jesus Freak Supporter

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    an SKS works really good for aerating a new burn barrel :D

    (how dat for stirring the pot!)
     
  13. Macybaby

    Macybaby I love South Dakota Supporter

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    Hey wyld thang, that's about how my DH puts the holes in his burn barrels - I'm not sure exactly what he uses, but I know it's one of the bigger bores.

    I have to waste cans in the house, and a bucket. Food stuff goes in the bucket and goes to the animals (cats, dog or chickens). I toss most to the chickens, what they don't eat they scratch around and it gets composted.

    Burnables for the wood stove (mostly clean paper) is set in a box by the wood stove, other burnable (mostly paper and very light plastic) goes in the big waste can and non-burnable (heavy plastic, metal) goes in the smaller one. The last gets hauled to the dump when we have a load. Have two big cans in the shop, and the bags go in there until we are ready to go. Have not gone to the dump since May.

    I can't stand the smell of plastic burning, so try hard to burn as little of that as possible. We have two burn barrels in the yard. When they get filled, they are hauled to the dump and emptied - too many nails and other bits of metal from scrap lumber and stuff from the shop to dump on the property.

    Cathy
     
  14. 45n5

    45n5 Well-Known Member

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    thanks all,

    We'd consider recycling the plastic and the metals, but there is no recycling near us so we'd have to collect it, store it, then drive it to a plant, not the best option.

    currently we don't have garbage pickup cause we are still building and camping there so we are either burning stuff or filling our truck with it and packing it out.
     
  15. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    I burn everything but metal and glass. Anything else that is combustible gets burned. I can usually get two years out of a burning barrel and maybe have to clean the ashes out of it once or twice. All of the metal and glass gets cleaned out well and put in a large trashcan. It generally takes over a year to build up enough metal and glass before it needs to be dumped. When it gets full I take it to the dump or my buddy takes it and sticks it in his dumpster.

    Around here out in the country very very few people have trash pick-up. A few do, mostly the ones on the highways or blacktop. Most everyone else burns their trash. Even in town a lot of people burn their trash. Always have. When we moved to town for a while when I was a kid we burned our trash there too. You just looked around at the neighbors to make sure they didn't have laundry out or something before you burned your trash. Just common courtesy thing.
     
  16. WolfWalksSoftly

    WolfWalksSoftly Level II -Inappropriate

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    We only burn the biodegradable stuff. All plastic, glass and foil goes to the dumpster at work.
     
  17. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    If you have local garbage pick up or a local dump day that at your township building you can take your bagged trash...please do so. It is so very hard to burn everything completely. Before we were able to get trash pick up in our township we burned as well. It was a mess. Some things paper or not, burned well. Personal womens's products were difficult or nasty, tea bags sometimes never burned and during the wet and snowy months..good luck. recycle and see about local pick up. Our neighbors up the road last night were burning something. The smell is awful !! And even now 12 hours later outside just plain ..smells !!:bash:Ah.. good clean country air !!?? We are still cleaning up an old dump site on our property probably 50 years old. You will get lazy and throw that occ. can or glass bottle in there and before you know it you will be burning your old refrig too. Recycle, reuse, or try and get to a garbage pickup site.
     
  18. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    Well around where we live all the townships got togther and formed a rural solid waste group thing so everybody has trash pickup. So we throw most everything away, I'd rather have it taken away and stuffed in a landfill than have to worry about storing it up and burning and trying to figure out what is okay to burn and what might release dangerous chemicals. They do also do recycling pickup every other week and we are just starting to save stuff for that.
     
  19. THETOOLMAN

    THETOOLMAN Well-Known Member

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    I have a 55 gal drum. with the hole at the bottom big enough to put my scoop shovel in. I burn everthing that the chickens don't get. later I scoop out all the ashes & glass & tin cans. They go to the dumpster
     
  20. Truckinguy

    Truckinguy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One thing that makes a great fire pit is an old clothes dryer drum. It's full of holes and when the fire in mine gets going good I can't stand anywhere near it.