Re: Leftover charcoal ashes....



That's ONE item on the list that should not be added to a compost bin due to the oils and additives in store-bought charcoal briquettes. I've added ashes from the fireplace to the compost bin, although not more than few handfuls.
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wrote:

Yeah you have to be careful of them oils and additives that won't burn.
You ate food cooked over these coals right? Add em to your compost, don't go overboard . Be aware ashes have a liming effect and would be better used added directly under the lilacs or worked into the soil.
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Beecrofter wrote:

Better yet, switch away from briquettes infused with petroleum products to chunk charcoal, and start them without lighter fluid by using a couple sheets of newspapers and a chimney starter like this one: http://www.holzemville.com/mall/reviews/charcoalstarter.html
In the long run you'll find that switching to this method: 1. Is less expensive, 2. Produces fewer harmful byproducts, 3. Helps conserve our petroleum products, 4. Exposes the food cooked over them to fewer known carcinogens, 5. Gives you better tasting food, without a petroleum aftertaste.
The only downside is that you probably won't find chunk charcoal at the 7-11 on the corner, so you'll need to plan at least a couple hours ahead if you need to replenish your stock.
--
Warren H.

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Hmmmm...I have never heard of "chunk" vs. normal charcoal. What's the difference?
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snipped-for-privacy@localnet.com (Beecrofter) wrote:

Problem with briquettes are: 1) Bonding agents 2) Extender agents. 3) The toxic byproduct Benzoapyrene.
1) The bonding resins are easily incorporated into cell structure of growing veggies. There are natural charcoals that would be safer to use their ashes in composts, but briquettes that are nicely shaped are not the organic product. Not all bonding agents are toxic, but some are; there is no way to tell the difference since no law requires ingredients to be revealed. Bonding agents include either artificial or vegetable startches, black tar, lime, asphalt, cane molasses, pitch, creosote, coal distillants, mixed with plastic-like chemical additives to increase the moisture resistance of a product that would otherwise suck up moisture from the atmosphere & not burn well.
If vegetable starches were the usual binder there'd be little likelihood of a problem, but that is as much as ten times more expensive than crappier binders, so are the least likely to be used. The product is rarely standardized, & if or asphalt is the cheapest one month & creosote the next, they'll just keep changing the ingredient. On average 10 to 15% of a briquette is the binder, & another percentage the extender, & so all "positive" reports of how clean (pure) charcoal burns simply does not apply to briquettes, though the briquette companies like to provide information only about pure charcoal & fail to mention there product isn't that.
In theory "Premium" charcoals are fully organic (using vegetable starches as binders) but since this aspect of the industry is 100% unregulated, there's no real guarantee of the content of charcoal that may well be randomly labeled "premium" rather than actually superior.
For the above reasons predominantly, we have the often-repeated composting advice that concluded a University of Illinois Agricultural Department study is that ashes from charcoal grills be discarded in landfills or driveways. Lesser problems:
2) Extenders or fillers are usually clay, but can be other silica sources, or rarely calcium cabonate. Clay filler result in ashes that are obviously too heavy to be pure charcoal ashes. The precise heavy-metal content of the extenders is unregulated hence unpredictable as to degree of potential toxicity.
3) Benzoapyrene is one of the most persisting human-generated toxins in the environment, causing genetic defect & cancer. It is a byproduct in the residues & exhausts of gasoline combustion, cigarette ash, tar, & smoke, prestolog ash & smoke, & charcoal briquette ash. Alas benzoapyrene is so ubiquitous in the environment that briquette contribution is like spit in the ocean, so the greater worry is the residues of the tarry resins used as bonding agents in briquettes.
inv-mus
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snipped-for-privacy@localnet.com (Beecrofter) wrote in wrote:

I've also read that charcoal shouldn't be added to the compost bin, not because of additives, but because of sulfur compounds (having the opposite of a liming effect) which would make the acidity too high for beneficial organisms.
- Salty
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