How to Dispose of Pressure Treated Wood

Before you dispose of pressure treated wood, there are a few important things to know. In this guide, we’ll walk you through your options to dispose of this material safely.

Dangers of Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure treated wood is soaked and coated in chemicals that prevent it from being susceptible to rot, moisture and insect damage. The kinds of chemicals used vary by the type and application of the lumber, but they include creosote, oil-borne chemicals like pentachlorophenol (commonly known as penta) and waterborne chemicals such as chromated copper arsenate (CCA), ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate (ACZA), and many others.

The positive side of these chemicals is that they extend the useful life of the lumber. In most cases, treated lumber will last 20 to 30 times longer than untreated lumber, which helps conserve trees. The dark side of treated lumber, however, is that the chemicals used to treat it are highly toxic. In fact, wood treated with CCA has enough toxic chemicals in it to qualify as hazardous waste. This means that care must be taken when disposing of it so that those chemicals don’t end up leeching into the soil or water table where they could cause health and environmental problems.

Never Burn Pressure Treated Wood

Before we talk about how to dispose of pressure treated wood, it’s important to mention how NOT to dispose of it.  Pressure-treated wood should never be burned. In fact, doing so is illegal and has been banned nationwide for good reason. Burning treated wood releases dangerously toxic ash into the air that can be harmful or even fatal if inhaled.

With that in mind, here are five safe ways to dispose of pressure treated wood:

Sell Your Pressure Treated Wood

Depending on the type of wood you have, you may be able to sell your treated lumber. Getting cash for it certainly beats throwing it away! You never know who might be looking for exactly what you have.

At repurposedMATERIALS, we buy and sell reclaimed materials. We may be interested in purchasing your pressure treated wood from you. Contact us to find out more.

Dispose in Your Regular Trash

Your regular waste disposal company might haul away treated lumber, but they may have certain requirements for pick-up, so check with them in advance. This will get rid of the lumber, but for reasons mentioned above, it might not be the most ecologically safe solution, since it will likely be headed for a landfill.

Take to an Eco-Friendly Landfill

Opt for an eco-friendly landfill, if you can. More and more of these landfills are popping up around the country. These landfills use large protective liners at the bottom to prevent dangerous chemicals from migrating through the soil and contaminating the environment.

Bring it to Hazardous Waste Recycling Facility

Most towns, cities and municipalities have facilities that provide safe recycling of hazardous materials. They may charge a fee to take your treated wood off your hands, but at least you’ll know you disposed of it with a facility that can handle it safely.

Repurpose Your Treated Wood

There are dozens of ways that treated wood can be repurposed to serve new uses and keep it out of landfills. Avoid using it indoors for obvious reasons, but you might find several creative uses for it outside. When cutting treated wood, always wear a mask to avoid inhaling sawdust that’s contaminated with the chemicals used to treat the wood.

  • Flower boxes. As long as no food or herbs intended for human consumption are being grown in them, treated wood’s weather resistant properties make it ideal for outdoor planting boxes.
  • Outdoor furniture. Treated wood can be used to be make outdoor benches, tables and other furniture that can withstand the elements.
  • Landscaping. Larger and thicker treated timbers can be used for retaining walls, sidewalk and garden edging, and other landscaping.
  • Saw horses. Turn your treated boards into sturdy sawhorses for other DIY projects.
  • Docks and boat lifts. Treated boards are ideal for repairing docks and boatlifts because they are water-resistant.

More at repurposedMATERIALS

For other ways to get cash for your unwanted materials, check out repurposedMATERIALS. Depending on what you have, we may be willing to buy them from you. While you’re at it, explore our vast inventory of used and unused materials at repurposedMATERIALS today. You may just find a few things that are ideal for your next project at unbeatable prices!

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