How to Dispose of Treated Lumber

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Things You'll Need

  • Dust mask

  • Safety goggles

  • Protective gloves

  • Lined landfill

Warning

Wear a dust mask and safety goggles when you saw or drill pressure-treated lumber. Wear gloves when to handle it. Wash skin that's had contact with the wood when you're done handling it.

Never burn treated lumber. Burning it produces toxic fumes and ashes.

Don't bury pressure-treated wood because the chemicals can leach into the soil.

Pressure-treated wood is a popular building material for outdoor projects such as raised flower beds, swing sets, fences, picnic tables, furniture, decks, porches and some outbuildings. The advantage of treated wood over untreated wood is that it's chemically treated to resist mold, mildew, insects and deterioration. It lasts for years and years. In fact, pressure-treated wood can last for five decades or more.
Disposal of this wood can be a problem, however, because you can't burn it. Read on to find out how to dispose of treated lumber.

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Step 1

Sell the leftover wood to dispose of it. If you over-calculated how much pressure-treated wood you would need, and ended up with several pieces, offer it for sale by advertising it in the local classified ads.

Step 2

Give away a few pieces of treated lumber- or a lot if you couldn't sell it. Put the wood in your front yard with a "Free" sign on it. You may be surprised how many people gladly will take free items. To reach a wider audience, advertise the pressure-treated lumber "for free" on a website like Freecycle.com.

Or, give away an entire structure. If you have a garden shed, for example, you want rid of, advertise in your local classified ads or on Freecycle. Write the ad that you're giving away a shed- either assembled or carefully taken apart- and the takers will probably flock to you.

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Step 3

Recycle the treated wood by using it to build another structure for yourself.

Researchers at Virginia Tech University's College of Natural Resources calculated that more than 80 percent of used treated wood from a deck can be reused.

Step 4

Call your local officials and ask whether there are lined landfills in the area where you can dispose of pressure-treated wood.

Step 5

Call your trash service. They may take the treated wood and dispose of it for you. Be prepared to pay extra for the special service, though.

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references & resources

Kayar Sprang

Kayar Sprang has been a professional freelance writer and researcher since 1999. She has had articles published by clients like Kraft Foods, "Woman's Day" magazine and Mom Junction. Sprang specializes in subjects she has expertise in, including gardening and home improvement. She lives on and maintains a multi-acre farm.