Proper waste management and recycling have become a vital part of daily living nowadays.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported 292.4 million tons of municipal solid waste produced per year.
This brings to attention the importance of proper disposal and recycling efforts, so our landfill sites don’t get clogged.
Moreover, proper disposal becomes even more critical when it comes to dangerous materials like wood with nails, which have the potential to hurt people.
How to Safely Dispose of Wood with Nails
Most people assume that wood, being a natural material, is easy to dispose of or recycle. That isn’t always the case, especially if your wood pieces have nails.
You will need to familiarize yourself with several things to make sure you dispose of wood with nails safely.
Disposal of Residential Wood Debris
Firstly, you need to figure out if your wood with nails categorizes as residential or commercial. Residential wood debris can be placed curbside with your regular trash, but commercial debris cannot.
The Waste Disposal Department will not collect any wood debris that forms as a result of work done by professional carpenters, contractors, or other hired services.
Place with Your Regular Trash
Before you place your wood with nails along with your regular trash, there are a few things to take care of.
What is Included
The Waste Disposal Department will only pick up;
- Wood pieces that are ½ an inch in diameter or larger.
- Lumber and other wood debris from your DIY projects.
Steps before Disposal
Before you leave out your wood with nails on the curbside, please take care of the following measures. These will help you ensure nobody gets hurt as a result of your wood debris.
Collect your wood pieces and clear them out well.
Locate all the spots with nails hammered in. You will need to remove these so that nobody gets hurt when collecting or managing your wood disposal.
Using the backend of a hammer, pry out the nails carefully. It would be the best strategy to wear protective gloves in order to keep your hands safe in the process.
Once you’ve removed all the nails from your wood planks or pieces, have another look to make sure there aren’t any left behind.
Remember, even a single nail can get caught and cause damage. It can also severely hurt the people who collect your trash for disposal.
Securely tie together the wood pieces into bales of no more than two feet in height and a length of four feet. Use a thick rope or strong twine to tie the wood together. Try to avoid using tape, nylon lines, or other synthetic binding materials.
Now that you’ve gotten all the nails from your wood pieces out and prepared it adequately, it’s time to keep it curbside.
Make sure to place your wood planks in a highly visible spot, so nobody trips over them and injures themselves. Also, try to do so between 4 PM and midnight the day prior to your trash collection day.
Important Note: Wood debris that is more than two feet in height or over four feet long can’t be disposed of along with your usual trash.
You will need to make a special bulk pick-up appointment with your local trash collection company.
Burn the Wood
Another option to dispose of residential wood with nails is by burning it. The wood will turn to ash, after which you can use a strong magnet to extract all the ferrous, metallic nails from it.
However, it would help to keep in mind that burning wood will create combustion fumes and a lot of smoke.
It is best to burn your wood in a large, open space that is sparsely populated. You should also have a mask on to protect yourself from the fumes and wear heat gloves when setting it on fire.
Moreover, you shouldn’t burn certain kinds of wood with nails as they release toxic gases upon combustion. Some of these dangerous woods include;
- Stained wood releases dangerous compounds.
- Wood that has previously been treated with Creosote to reduce wood rot (often found at the bottom of your fence posts).
Disposal of Commercial or Home Repairs Wood Debris
When it comes to commercial wood debris, the disposal method is a little different. Your local Waste Disposal Management will not tend to any wood debris left behind by wood contractors or carpenters.
Wood with nails from a home improvement project or renovations is considered commercial waste.
When you hire professional woodwork services, it becomes their responsibility to dispose of all the wood debris, lumber, and other construction waste materials.
However, if you did the renovations in your home without any hired help, your wood debris won’t be considered commercial waste.
In such a case, you can place the waste materials out for regular trash collection or make an appointment for bulk item disposal (for larger pieces of wood).
Can Wood Be Recycled?
Now that we’ve learned how to dispose of wood with nails let’s move on to the next part. There is another aspect of waste management that we should explore – recycling.
Wood is actually a very handy natural material that can be easily recycled or even repurposed.
It’s a valuable resource that really shouldn’t be dumped in landfill sites and wasted away. Alongside wood with nails, you can also recycle wood scraps, sawdust, debris, etc.
You can even reuse them around your home for the perfect DIY project!
Before we go into detail about the best recycling and reusing methods, we first need to categorize wood debris into treated and untreated wood.
Untreated wood pieces like clean timber, stumps, and dimensional lumber are all easily recycled.
On the other hand, wood planks treated with Creosote, stained wood, contaminated debris, and painted pieces aren’t recyclable. You will need to dispose of them following the method mentioned above.
How to Recycle Wood
Aside from untreated wood, several other kinds can also be recycled. Urban wood waste from your old furniture and yard waste is among them.
Wood debris like lumber, pallets, and wood trim from construction sites and demolition can also be recycled effectively.
Before you recycle wood, here are some important factors you will need to take care of.
Removing All Metal Components
Before you dump your wood in the recycle bin, it is important to remove all metal parts from it. These include nails, screws, and bolts. While some recycling plants do accept wood with nails, it is always better to pry it off beforehand.
These nails and bolts can damage recycling machines and tamper with the inner working of the recycling system. Hence, more recycling plants instruct people to remove large metal pieces beforehand.
It may sound like too much work, but removing these components is relatively straightforward. Any strong magnet can be used to remove these nails or other ferrous parts.
If you notice any non-ferrous items, an eddy current separator will take care of them. It can also be used to remove brass fittings or aluminum parts.
Recycling wood and timber is not just an easy way of getting rid of wood debris; it is also better for the environment.
This simple, extra step will serve an essential role in preventing the unnecessary logging of our forests and conserving valuable life. It reduces your carbon footprint, decreases your total waste disposal charge, and is more environment-friendly.
Difference between Useful Wood and Garbage
While considering the best ways to recycle wood, one of the first steps you’ll need to take is distinguishing between useful wood and unsalvageable waste.
Not all kinds of wood can be recycled, as we’ve clarified above. You will also need to go over the recycling unit’s policies or center before sending over your wood debris.
Different centers have different terms and rules. For example, some don’t accept wood with parasitic strains or chemical coats.
Keep in mind that just because a recycling center refuses to accept your wood with nails, it doesn’t make it garbage. You can still repurpose the pieces into something new for your home. Just by stripping off an old stain or sandpapering the surface, you can have a brand new shelf for your living room!
Some Other Options
If you have untreated pieces of wood, remove the nails and try out the following;
- Burning for fuel over the fireplace.
- Reselling to used wood shops.
- Repurposing to build new furniture yourself.
- Turning it into wood chips to be used as mulch.
- Send to a biomass-to-energy production unit.
The Final Takeaway
As discussed, there are numerous techniques on how to dispose of wood with nails. It is always best to avoid discarding it, as it is a valuable natural material.
Instead, it would be best to look up different recycling plants in your area to send the wood debris to.
Additionally, a better step would be to repurpose the wood yourself. Not only does it offer you a fun DIY project for the weekends, but it can even save money in the long run!
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