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Disposing of ash

Burning wood and coal is associated with summer barbecues and cosy winter fires - in other words, some of the nicest things in life. But if you make a fire, you also have to dispose of the ashes! Can ash actually be put in the compost? Is it even suitable as fertiliser for the soil in the garden? Here’s a guide to disposing of ash and what else you need to consider.

Fireplace shovel with ashes on it in front of a fireplace

Disposing of ashes from fireplaces, barbecues, or firewood

While the fire in the fireplace gives us cosy warmth indoors during the cold season, a large supply of wood is already waiting to be burned. Unfortunately, this also produces ash, which should not be disposed of incorrectly. Ash can be a fire hazard or contain toxic substances that make it unsuitable as fertiliser for plants or compost. Similarly, it can be dangerous as waste. Accumulated ash can also contain heavy metals - even from untreated wood!

Should I put hot ash in the compost or household waste?

Fresh ash is often still hot and we do not intuitively recognise it as ordinary waste. This is why many stove owners wonder how to deal with wood ash. Which waste bin should they throw in without polluting the environment or even causing a fire? Important: only cooled down ash may be disposed of at all!

Man pours ashes from a cardboard box into the dustbin

Do not compost wood ash or use it as fertiliser

Many people use wood ash as fertiliser for plants in the garden or dispose of it in the compost. And indeed: ash can also be found in the popular Terra Preta, which is a type of soil from the Amazon. Nevertheless, experts strongly advise against composting larger quantities of ash as natural fertiliser in the garden. Although it is organic material, even wood ash from natural wood is not free of heavy metal. Even in small quantities, this can pass through the soil into the plants and home-grown vegetables. In addition, wood ash increases the pH value in the compost heap, herb garden or bed and does not provide the soil and thus the plant with any additional nutrients. Therefore, ash is not suitable as compost and does not belong in the organic waste bin or on the soil in the garden for fertilising. Save yourself the trip from the stove to the compost!

Cooled ashes may be disposed of in household waste

Instead of the compost, the residual waste is the right place for ashes. Cooled ash from the fireplace can generally be disposed of in household waste. Pack the ash in a separate bag and seal it well so that no highly explosive dust forms in the disposal facility. In some municipalities, you can also take accumulating ash directly to the waste processing plant or recycling centre. If you want to be sure, it is best to call or email your local waste disposal facility.

A tip for disposal

You can temporarily store small quantities of ash while it is hot in the HAILO Solid M with galvanised inner bucket. This has been tested by DEKRA in accordance with the German Equipment and Product Safety Act and is certified as self-extinguishing!

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