Are off cuts of pressure treated wood for internal use or manufactured board such as loft boarding safe to dispose of in a domestic garden fire pit (not for cooking)?

I have a large amount of off cuts after boarding my loft and doing various other jobs, so its either burn it or take it to the tip and burn something else...

Info I should have added originally, so apologies - this is the UK where restrictions on what you can do on your own property are a lot loss. I can burn this stuff in my garden fire pit or chimney for example, Im wondering if its safe to do so though.

  • 4
    What's it treated with? Around here, chrome-copper arsenate has been phased out. Some of the answers you'll get to this question will be obsolete. Also, all smoke is toxic.
    – isherwood
    Dec 16, 2015 at 14:38
  • 1
    "pressure treated wood for internal use" = you wouldn't normally use pressure treated wood for internal use.
    – DA01
    Dec 16, 2015 at 17:39
  • On the other hand: Manufactured boards are just fancy versions of plywood or fiberboard. They probably won't burn well due to the adhesives, but they're not all that dangerous as far as I know. (Remember that ordinary wood smoke isn't "safe" either, and exotic woods may be as toxic as PT.)
    – keshlam
    Dec 17, 2015 at 6:04

4 Answers 4


In the US, from the EPA:

If you must dispose treated wood, follow these recommendations:

  • State statute prohibits open burning of treated lumber. Typically, open burning of any kind can only occur at town transfer stations, by permit, involving only clean (untreated) wood and brush. Other limited open burning situations can occur at other sites, but only under a permit from local authorities, and typically only for clean wood and brush, not treated lumber.

  • Treated wood of all types can be most responsibly disposed of as follows: Homeowners engaged in small projects should take treated wood to their local landfill or transfer station and place it in the designated location (i.e., the non-clean wood pile). Contractors, utilities, and manufacturers should contract directly with a DEEP permitted bulky waste landfill, or send it to an out-of state wood burner facility appropriately equipped and permitted to burn treated wood.

  • Sawdust, chips, and small wood scraps should never be composted. Treat these items as stated above.

  • 5
    Love #2: Don't ever burn treated wood. Send it away so we can burn it in someone else's state.
    – JS.
    Dec 16, 2015 at 19:00
  • 2
    @JS. That is from an EPA page specifically for Connecticut. The clarification in #2 is between "open burning" vs "wood burner facility appropriately equipped and permitted to burn treated wood" - so CT must not have any licensed and equipped facilities.
    – mskfisher
    Dec 16, 2015 at 19:11
  • 1
    @mskfisher: Agreed. I should have added a sarcasm indicator.
    – JS.
    Dec 16, 2015 at 19:13
  • @JS. ha! That's funny...didn't even notice that the first time. :)
    – DA01
    Dec 16, 2015 at 19:39
  • One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that treated wood absorbs water readily, and is thus very difficult to burn. Forget trying to burn it in an open fire, and burning it in a woodstove would probably just clog the stack with all sorts of nasty crud. (Remember, to efficiently create creosote in your chimney stack you need to burn lots of wet stuff. Wet wood, damp cardboard, paper, garbage - all great ways to clog up your chimney with creosote. Aitch-ee-double-hockey-pucks yeah! Bring on them chimney fires! :-). Dec 17, 2015 at 13:23

When it burns, treated wood emits all sort of nasty chemicals that it was treated, such as trivalent chromium, copper sulfate, and arsenic. Not good stuff to breathe or pump into the air. If you can't find a way to use the leftover wood, the most responsible thing is to just take it to the dump. At least they'll have waste and runoff containment systems.


Check your town ordinances. Some towns insist it always be treated as construction waste so they can process it separately; others will let you toss small amounts in the trash (recognizing that homeowners are gonna be a bit sloppy) but over a few pounds needs to be sequestered; it's possible some are still ignoring the issue and just landfilling anything that isn't alive. (Insert gangsterjoke here.)

"Ask the local authority having jurisdiction" is the answer to many home improvement questions.

  • If you are in the UK they will have a local facility for getting rid of bad stuff. I used it recently to get rid of asbestos my Mum had had for 20 years. Everyone was panicking about what it would cost. I checked their website, packed it up tidily with plastic and tape, drove there, put it in the skip, basta. Cost nothing but the plastic sacks.
    – RedSonja
    Dec 17, 2015 at 10:16

I would not burn pressure treated wood, the smoke would be toxic.

You're supposed to just throw it out with regular garbage. As far as I know recyclers don't want it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.