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Author Topic: What's safe to burn and what isn't  (Read 107537 times)
Ivan
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« on: November 19, 2009, 01:15:43 AM »

My understanding is:

Chipboard - Definitely do not burn in a woodstove- gives off toxic formaldehyde fumes - smells really bad as well as being highly toxic, and carcinogenic. Ref.1 suggests that chipboard can be burnt safely at 800C

Particle Board (eg MDF) - Do not burn - highly toxic, gives off toxic formaldehyde and other toxic fumes. Smells really bad when burnt. Carcinogenic.

Plywood - Definitely do not burn in a woodstove - gives off toxic formaldehyde and/or dioxins formed by reactions with phenolic glues (perhaps not all plywoods will have phenolic glues,but how would you know?). Ref.1 suggests that plywood can be burned safely at over 600C.

Stirling Board/Fibreboard -  ?

I assume on a scale of bad to not so bad, chipboard and particle board are worst, whereas plywood and stirling board/fibreboard are not as bad
'Tanolised' Timber eg roof battens, fencing, fenceposts - Difficult to know with this one. If it has the new type of pressure treatment called 'ACQ' - it has copper compounds and 'quat' - a disinfectant (ref2) so it doesn't sound like it's a problem - in which case offcuts of new materials should be fine. Old tanolised goods may have been subject to the 'CCA' treatment which involved aresenic, which is highly toxic, and therefore shouldn't be burned

Railway sleepers - If they are untreated hardwood, there's no problem. If they are are ACQ treated (ie relatively new) then they should be no problem. If they are 'CCA' treated, then you should not burn for the reasons outlined above.

Telegraph poles - Probably nasty.

Painted Wood - Wood painted before the mid-70s may have traces of lead(ref.3). Lead can colour paint white, yellow, red, yellow, orange,grey, green or possibly red - so you can't just exclude one particular colour. If the wood is was painted with paint purchased after the mid70s, then I assume it's ok to burn (nb, you may have painted something last year with some left over paint from the early 70s).

need notes/references on pallet wood

need notes/references on cardboard

Plastic Waste (crisp packets, bread packets, packing tape on cardboard etc) - Definitely avoid burning. Produces highly toxic fumes including dioxins

Bleached Paper - Best avoided. Traces of chlorine in the paper can react with the phenolic compounds which are driven off/synthesised during the combustion process to form dioxins - which are highly toxic and readily absorbed and concentrated by the human body.

References:
1) http://www.unicahome.com/products/pdf/11221/environmentpdf.pdf
2)http://www.railwaysleeper.com/railway%20sleeper%20treatments.htm
3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead-based_paint_in_the_United_Kingdom
« Last Edit: November 19, 2009, 01:29:46 AM by Ivan » Logged
oliver90owner
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2009, 07:26:01 AM »

Doesn't leave much!

Most likely things you can burn sounds like your fingers!

Regards, RAB
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Ted
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2009, 08:20:50 AM »

I'm pretty sure the latest advice from the Environment Agency (which I haven't time to look up right now) is that any type of treated wood is 'waste' and so cannot be burnt on a domestic fire of any description.
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Stuart
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2009, 08:29:42 AM »

surely a gasifying stove would be able to burn all them with the exception of leaded paint?
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renewablejohn
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2009, 09:39:54 AM »

surely a gasifying stove would be able to burn all them with the exception of leaded paint?

Stuart

Yes a gasifying stove could burn all of the above including leaded paint but not legally. For the plant to be legal it must comply with the Waste Incineration Directive. As an example of the extra cost a virgin timber CHP plant would cost 1.4 million to install whereas the same output WID compliant plant will cost 3.2 million.

Policy statement from the environment agency which defines virgin and waste timber

http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/static/documents/ps005_2077240.pdf
« Last Edit: November 19, 2009, 10:06:05 AM by renewablejohn » Logged
Ivan
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2009, 09:52:23 PM »

Anyone know why some webpages say you shouldn't burn cardboard. I can't see any problem - maybe it's because of the tape that might be attached, or perhaps the fact that it might burn a bit faster than intended?
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billi
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« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2009, 10:48:00 PM »

anyhow the railwailsleepers i can find here in ireland were banned even to use as garden products over a decade ago  in Germany ( my landscape  company in germany stopped using them over 20 years ago )

Actually many sales people here tell me that they are from Germany (toxic waste in germany and companies have to pay to get rid of them or ship to Ireland  wackoold )

I would be very carefull to use them or cut them , not that i am a health apostel , but if i read articles now of poissoned meet from free ranged animals in Switzerland  caused by fenceposts made of railway sleepers , it makes me sick  and seeing "green" people to make raised vegie beds with them .....

I know its about burning and not the old nasty ones , but who knows the difference

Beside the wood preservatives the german rail (bahn) did spread a good amount of pesticides/herbizides over the last decades on them  and these products arnot allowed for a good reason today as well

So make sure yurs are untreated or save and tell people if they use the nasty ones in their garden it will harm their kids

Billi
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Eleanor
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2009, 12:17:38 AM »

Feeling better now. Was going to ask the local contractors who had been removing the old telegraph poles if we could have a few but then I saw them offloading dozens of them at my neighbours house. Shame he's such a nice chap. I suppose he'll possibly die warmly and slowly over many years while we just quickly freeze to death  garden
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renewablejohn
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2009, 10:10:23 AM »

Telegraph poles make excellent agricultural buildings 
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Moxi
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2009, 03:48:10 PM »

Here's one for the knowledgeable,

I have two 6" diameter,3ft sections of palm trunk - very dry and fibrous when split, will they burn, are they suitable to burn, can they be burnt, should I be worrying about palm oil (normally extracted from the seeds but are there traces in the trunk?)

I await with baited breath...... bike

Moxi
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Moxi
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« Reply #10 on: December 22, 2009, 12:04:20 PM »

Well I gave it a go last night and found that unless its in very thin (kindling) sections it doesn't readily burn even when seasoned, even in a hot stove it just sits there and slowly melts away, so I'd put palm in the difficult to burn / don't burn category.

Seasons

Moxi
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ecogeorge
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2009, 11:38:08 PM »

Thanks for the info , - note to self - leave all local Palm trees standing.  Grin Grin Grin
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charlieb
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2010, 02:57:55 PM »

Telegraph poles make excellent agricultural buildings 

And (light weight) straining posts.  Real shame to burn telegraph poles (quite apart from health/pollution issues).

(Not wanting to give selfish people ideas, but if you burn nasty stuff in a sealed stove does the gunk go up the flue or are there issues about internal pollution as well?) 
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noelsquibb
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2010, 09:15:31 PM »

Its, funny how railway sleepers, preferably the old creosoted ones were making top dollar during the foot 'n mouth fiasco in 2001.

The Gov were almost pulling them out from under the local trains so they could roast all that quality beef.

Don't like burning old insulation board on the bonfire either as it really stinks, which suggests its not the best.

Old telegraph poles make superb lighting sticks ( i.e. in moderation ) and the arsenic in the old green 'tanalise'  is supposed to stabilise once air dried and be harmless to animals and people.
Or were the reps telling us porkies ?

Surely the odd piece of 'not so good' mixed in with dried hardwood cant hurt much in a hot fire with a working chimney ?  Certainly no worse than fresh cut softwood.

And as Eleanor says, when your only available source of heat is full of creosote, you will probably burn some.

Yes, its not smart to burn stuff that's bad for the environment but as the list probably includes petrol, diesel and heating oil, perhaps we could burn the occasional bit of treated or painted offcut, rather than take them to a landfill ?

Course, this year will be different and I will have a huge pile of hardwood cut, split, stacked and dried by October ...

 
noel


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mmmmm,  gravy
Baz
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« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2010, 12:51:35 PM »

I have had some palm burn ok. Coconut shells are great.
Palletwood is better used to line your 'phone pole shed, over the cardboard insulation layer.
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