How to Dispose of Coal

It’s summer! We all know what that means: lots of barbecue parties!

If you are grilling on charcoal, you need to make sure that you know how to dispose of it. You need to ensure that you dispose of used coal (in the form of ashes) and unused coal the right way.

Nobody wants a bin fire outside their house. Hence, you must avoid setting fire to your waste.

Instead, read up this blog on how you can repurpose coal or dispose of it safely with minimal wastage.

The best way to dispose of used coal ashes is in a metal wrap or container. Please keep it away from other trash items that can catch fire, such as wood.

In the following section, we will take a closer look at the entire process of disposing of coal, so you have a clear idea of how to proceed.

How to Dispose of or Repurpose Used Coal and Ashes

Below are 5 ways in which you can dispose of used coal ashes.

We have also mentioned ways in which you can repurpose them and use them to your advantage:

Method # 1: Dispose of It with the Rest of Your Garbage

The first method to dispose of coal is to toss it in the garbage. However, you need to ensure that the coal and ashes have cooled off before you dispose of them.

To help the charcoal cool faster, you can use long tongs and transfer the hot coal to a bucket of water. Make sure you don’t dump them all into the bucket at once.

Do not pour water directly on the coals as it will create steam that could burn you. Stir the bucket thoroughly to speed up the process.

After the ashes and the coal pieces have thoroughly cooled down, please place them in a small metal container such as a coffee can or wrap them in aluminum foil.

Then, dispose of them in an outdoor garbage bin.

Please do not place the cooled charcoal or ashes near anything that could catch fire, wood, for example.

This is because they can continue to burn for up to 6 weeks after you remove them from the grill and cool them down.

Method # 2: Make Fertilizer/Compost

Another way to dispose of coal ash (that also benefits the environment) is to use it as a fertilizer or in compost.

Ash from additive-free wood charcoal contains a lot of potassium carbonate, which provides nutrients to plants. However, potash can change the pH of your soil and make it more alkaline, so be cautious.

Do not use charcoal ash with plants that love acids such as blueberries or hydrangeas.

Avoid using it with newly planted seedlings as well. You can only use additive-free wood charcoal safely as fertilizer.

If you have a compost pile in your backyard, you can add a few pieces of charcoal to it to increase the carbon content.

The bacteria and microbes in the compost pile will use the carbon to break down the organic matter present in the compost.

Method # 3: Use It to Deter Pests

What better way is there to use coal ashes than to keep away pests?

Create a mixture of coal ash, hydrated limestone, and water in a spray bottle. Shake it and spray it around your vegetable garden and plants to deter beetles.

Wood charcoal ash can also help keep away mites and lice from outdoor bird cages and chicken coops. Some gardeners and farmers also use charcoal ash to make a homemade pesticide spray.

To make this spray, mix about 30 g of coal ash with the same amount of calcium hydroxide. Add the mixture in 4 liters of water and mix well. Spray the solution in your garden and around the plants you wish to protect from pests.

Method # 4: Use It as a Cleaner or Odor Remover

You can also use the ash from additive-free wood charcoal to make a cleaner like lye soap.

To make lye in your kitchen, boil the ashes from a hardwood fire in soft water (preferably rainwater) for about 30 minutes. Once the ashes settle to the bottom of the pan, skim the liquid lye off the top.

You can even use wood charcoal ash to polish silver.

Soak a cotton ball or pad in lemon juice and then dip it in coal ash. Using this mixture, rub your jewelry. You will notice that the blackened and stained silver will become sparkly and squeaky clean!

You can also use coal ash to remove odor from your pet.

If a skunk has ever sprayed your dog, you must be aware of how long it takes for the smell to fade away. Using wood ash rubbed through the fur will make the smell fade faster.

Method # 5: Use It to Slow Algae Growth Outdoors

Lastly, you can also use coal ash from your griller in your pond to limit algae growth.

Just add about one tablespoon of coal ash in about a thousand gallons of pond water to slow algae growth and strengthen other pond plants.

What to Do with Unused Coal

Now that you know how to dispose of or and repurpose used coal and ashes, let’s look at your options for disposing of and utilizing unused coal.

There are so many ways to utilize unused coal instead of just tossing it in the trash. Here are five things you can do with unused coal:

1. Use It to Reduce Odors

Many people use leftover charcoal in stinky places because it is excellent at absorbing odors.

Place a handful of charcoal in a clean sock, a cloth bag, or a perforated bag and keep it in your freezer or refrigerator. The charcoal will absorb all the food smells.

If you hate stinky shoes (who doesn’t?), use charcoal to eliminate the odor.

You can slip a handful of charcoal in your sneakers, boots, or any other stinky shoes to get rid of the nasty smells.

However, before you do that, remember to put the charcoal pieces in a cloth or sock, so they do not stain your footwear.

2. Use it to Reduce and Prevent Rusting and Clumping

Using unused charcoal to prevent rusting and clumping is another excellent way not to let it go to waste.

If you have leftover additive-free charcoal, you can put it in your toolbox. The charcoal pieces will absorb moisture and hence, reduce the rust on your tools in the process.

They will also prevent your tools from rusting any further than they already have.

You can also use charcoal pieces to prevent ice melt salt from clumping.

3. Use It as Compost

Do you have a compost pile in your yard? Now you can increase its carbon content! Adding a few pieces of charcoal to your compost pile can increase its carbon content.

Carbon is an essential element that provides energy to microorganisms while breaking down the organic matter in compost.

The microorganisms in the compost pile will break down the organic matter in the compost much faster if there is higher carbon content. This breaking down action is very vital to the entire composting process.

However, please make sure that you do not add more than a handful to your compost pile at a given time. Any un-decomposed charcoal in your compost pile can restrict the growth of your plants.

You can even use unused powdered charcoal to subdue the growth of weeds in your garden.

4. Use It in the Garden and Flower Vase

You can also use unused charcoal in your garden in several ways.

If you have planted orchids, you can add crushed charcoal to the soil. Most flower enthusiasts are of the view that the charcoal pieces will increase the alkalinity of the soil.

They can also absorb toxins that can harm the plants.

Additionally, adding a small piece of charcoal to the water of cut flowers in a vase can make them last longer.

A single piece of charcoal placed at the base of a vase filled with water can help increase the life of the flowers.

5. Give It Away or Sell It

If you have utilized unused coal in the 4 ways mentioned above and still have extra leftover, why not give it away or sell it?

You might as well make some extra money!

You can choose this option whenever you have some unused charcoal lying around, and you have no idea when you will be able to use it next.

Try looking for buyers for your bags of coal on Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Nextdoor, or Craigslist. You can also give them away for free to someone who needs them.

Final Words

We hope that by now, you know how to dispose of coal properly. But before you do so, please see if you can repurpose it in any way.

There are so many ways in which you can use coal ash and unused coal.

If you are sure that you want to dispose of it, always follow method # 1 of garbage disposal since it is the safest.

If you are still unsure about how to proceed, speak to your neighborhood waste collection authorities. See if they will take care of the coal for you.

Other articles you may also like: