Even though the ashes you’ve cleaned out of your wood stove may look like they’ve cooled off, there is a good chance there may still be some burning embers. Hot ashes will melt green carts, set garbage collection trucks on fire and even cause significant property damage. A recent house fire in Petawawa was directly related to hot ashes being placed inside a green cart.
To ensure the safe disposal of wood ashes, store them in a METAL container until COOLED. On your regular garbage collection day, place cooled ashes in a combustible container (i.e. box or bag) and place out with regular garbage.
TIP: Use extra caution when transferring cooled ashes to a combustible containers. Introducing oxygen can reignite embers that look cool.
Significant damaged was caused to a home after hot ashes were improperly disposed of.
Sue McCrae, General Manager at the Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre explains why cooled ashes must be disposed of as garbage and not in your green cart. “When the green cart material is brought to the Centre for composting it is dumped inside our processing facility. Ashes generate significant dust and become air borne resulting in possible safety issues related to air quality for our staff.”
Mrs. McCrae reminds residents that wood ashes can actually be beneficial for your garden. “Spreading ashes on top of your garden can raise the pH and lower the acidity of your soil. Just make sure they are only ashes from unpainted wood and your garden is away from any structures.” She also adds that it’s important to do your research and understand the needs of your soil and plants. “Some plants like acidic soil so you wouldn’t want to add ashes to your blueberry plants for example.”
Adding wood ashes to your soil can be beneficial for your plants.