How to Dispose of Grill Charcoal

It’s looking like this is going to be a hot, hot summer, which, to us, means plenty of opportunities for barbecuing! At Peninsula, we’re pretty much evenly split between preferring to grill with gas or charcoal, but we will say something about the latter: it’s not always easy to figure out what to do with charcoal after it’s been used. Peninsula offers trash services and can collect your charcoal if you leave it on the sidewalk on trash day, but there are a number of other things you can do with it as well. Note that no matter how you decide to use your charcoal, you should let it cool for at least 48 hours in the grill before attempting to move it—individual charcoal briquettes can reach temperatures of up to 1000 F, so you definitely don’t want to get burned!

How to Dispose of Charcoal

Like we mentioned above, let charcoal sit and cool for 48 hours before you try to throw it out. If you want to help the charcoal cool faster, use long tongs to move briquettes one at a time into a bucket of water (don’t dump them out all at once and don’t pour water directly on the coals—it will create steam that could burn you).

Once the charcoal ash has cooled completely, wrap it up in aluminum foil and place it in a noncombustible outdoor bin. Peninsula will be by to pick it up during the week!

Using Natural Wood Charcoal in the Garden

If you use additive-free wood charcoal to grill, you can use the leftovers as fertilizer! Wood charcoal ash contains a compound called potash, which increases the pH levels of your soil and creates a healthier environment for plants that prefer alkaline soil, such as Forsythia, lilacs, hellebores, and more.

We’ve heard some people say they keep beetles out of their gardens using a mixture of lime (the mineral, not the fruit), charcoal ash, and water. Mix together one ounce of ash, one ounce of hydrated lime, and one gallon of water to create the solution, then spray it around plants and around the perimeter of your garden.

You can also use charcoal to deter pests of various kinds. If you have a pond that’s being overtaken by algae, add about a tablespoon of charcoal per thousand gallons to strengthen the other plants in your pond and slow algae growth. On land, use wood charcoal ash to prevent lice and mites from getting to chickens and other outdoor birds, if you keep these.

Alternative Uses for Natural Wood Charcoal

If you’ve ever used charcoal before, you know the feeling of having a few briquettes left at the bottom of an otherwise empty bag—not enough to grill with, but do you really need to throw them away?

As it turns out, you can use those unburned briquettes in a variety of places around your home, including:

  • Charcoal in a perforated plastic bag can be used to reduce odors in your refrigerator and freezer.
  • You can slip a bit of charcoal in your shoes to absorb any odors.
  • If you have a compost pile in your yard, add a few pieces of charcoal to increase the carbon content—the microorganisms in the compost pile use it to continue to break down organic matter in the compost.
  • A single piece of charcoal placed at the bottom of a water-filled vase can help increase the life of cut flowers.
  • Since charcoal absorbs moisture, it can be used in the garage to reduce rust in a tool box as well as to prevent ice melt salt from clumping.

Peninsula’s trash service can pick up charcoal and any other trash at your summer barbecues and all year round. Call us today to sign up for service!


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