OT: disposing of ashes from a grill

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Not exactly a home repair question, but I figured SOMEONE around here ought to have an answer...
Bought a new grill, moving to charcoal from propane. What do I do with the collected ashes? Burning Kingsford, if it matters, along with various hardwoods for smoke.
-Wm
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use as fertilizer around plants
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Sprinkle it on the soil around plants, especially bulbs. I don't know how often is too often, but I've been doing this for years and it doesn't seem to hurt. I just make sure not to put it around the same bunch of plants more than once a month.
If the ashes contain any unburned chunks that still smell like lighter fluid, keep them away from food crops, or toss them in the trash.
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Thanks, Doug and m.R. I'd wondered about that, but wasn't sure.

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I just read on the internet that charcoal ashes should not be used as fertilizer because of the chemicals used in briquette bonding.

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Really??? You mean, in the process of shaping them?

with
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Well then , those " Chemicals" are in your steak as they vaporised right below the meat . They sure dont hurt my plants and the dont contain weed killer . Now at 600- 700 f how many chemicals are left, unburned , and intact - riiiight. Sounds like we better call the EPA and ban BBQing and charcole and water to.
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Don't be giving the EPA any ideas. Besides, I seem to remember a while back that the EPA DOES think that the ol' BBQ should be banned. If I remember right, it was because of the lighter fluid, though. But my memory isn't what it . . .What was I talking about?
Wayne

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Yeah, any number of gardening sites mention this. Plain wood ashes OK (generally, depending on the original soil composition and on the amount you use), but charcoal ashes are NG.

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What happens to those bonding chemicals during combustion? Are they still present after combustion? I doubt it. I believe they use clay in briquettes,too.
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Jim Yanik
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What do you think happens to them?
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At combustion temperatures,they get broken down,volatized,and go up with the flue gasses.
What do you think the "bonding chemicals" are ?
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Jim Yanik
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1) I believe the bonding chemicals are the "glue" used to shape briquettes.
2) Using cigarettes as an analogy, it's been shown that pesticides mutate into something else equally dangerous when burned, and that they represent a risk equal to or greater than the nicotine, in terms of carcinogenic effects.
3) You and I know zip about what happens to the bonding chemicals in charcoal, or even what they are. So, don't make assumptions one way or the other.
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I've got a propane grill, now. I remember the charcoal days. What a total pain in the ash.
--

Christopher A. Young
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On Wed, 2 Jun 2004 11:47:55 -0500, "William Morris"

"Ashes from charcoal grills should NOT be added to garden or yard soils due to the chemicals used in the briquette bonding. Ashes should be discarded properly in landfills or driveways."
(http://www.oldhouseweb.net/gardening/Detailed/468.shtml )
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Tom Miller wrote:

Sounds like the Oldhouseweb is full of BS. I have never seen any adverse effect from mixing (note the word mixing, not just dumping) briquet ashes in a garden; some exceptions are ornamentals with very specific acid or alkaline requirements. But of course, feel free to dump the ashes in a bucket and after a couple of weeks put them in the trash to help fill up the local landfil.
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wrote:

here ought

with the

various
They're not saying it'll hurt the plants. The nutrients in the ashes are probably about the same as ashes from a plain chunk of wood. What they're talking about is the possible toxic effects of the chemicals used to make briquettes, if those ashes were spread around food plants. Like pesticides used on tobacco, the burnt result is often worse than the original chemical.
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Assuming that those "chemicals" still exist after combustion. OR,If they stay IN the ashes and not go with the burned gasses. (up in smoke)
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Jim Yanik
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On Thu, 03 Jun 2004 06:16:35 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

"What are some examples of things that DO NOT go in the composting pile? Here is what does not go in your composting pile. Pet droppings do not go in the compost pile as pet manure can contain parasites that will affect your soil and your foods. Ashes from the grill. Charcoal ashes are very high in alkaline, which many plants do not like so charcoal and charcoal ashes are not good to add to the composting pile. Weeds that have been treated with chemicals or herbicides are not for your composting pile as even after they decompose the chemicals will be left in your soil and could poison you. Meat, bones and greasy foods are not good for your composting pile as they will attract pests, mice and more. Meats, bones and fats are very slow to decompose causing your pile to slow and your smell to be much worse. "
(http://www.greenhouses.com/content/view/293/40 /)
"Do Not Compost: meat bones oil or fat dairy products dog or cat feces colored newspapers or magazines plastics charcoal ashes plants or grass clippings that have been treated with chemicals diseased or insect-infected plants sawdust from plywood and pressure treated wood"
(http://www.cityofchicago.org/Environment/SolidWaste/Composting/CompostingGuide.html )
"Charcoal Ashes Ashes from charcoal grills should NOT be added to garden or yard soils due to the chemicals used in the briquette bonding. "
( 2003 University of Illinois Board of Trustees http://www.solutions.uiuc.edu /)
"DO NOT ADD TO COMPOST:
Any food items, raw or cooked (to avoid pest & odor problems) Diseased plants Weeds gone to seed Charcoal ashes or briquets"
(http://www.ci.royal-oak.mi.us/dps/bycomp.html )
"Avoid putting the following in your compost bin:
Charcoal ashes Diseased garden plants Glossy paper Invasive weeds Pesticide-treated plant material Pet litter."
(http://www.theanswerbank.co.uk/Article.go?id )60&category_id=8)
"MATERIALS TO AVOID IN YOUR COMPOST PILE
meat and fish scraps cheese and dairy products fats, oils, and grease dog and cat waste cat litter dead animals large branches pressure-treated lumber invasive weeds weeds with seeds pesticide-treated plants and grass clippings diseased plants sand coal and charcoal ashes colored or glossy paper non-compostable materials such as plastics, metals, and glass"
(http://www.nyccompost.org/how/materials.html )
"It's becoming well known that fire can be a healthful part of the lifecycle of grasslands & forests, plants springing back healthier than before there was a burn-through leaving ashes. So too fireplace ashes contain potasium which can be a good natural fertilizer. Ashes contain so much calcium they have the same benefits as lime, though only if you really need the pH levels of the soil raised. Ashes are very alkaline & can be less than beneficial to rhodies, azaleas, madronnas, magnolias, evergreen trees, & anything else that wants the soil to the acid side & almost everything native of the Northwest does prefer acidic soil. Used with selective care, ashes can be good for a lot of veggies & tomatoes & grasses. They most certainly shouldn't be added willynilly to gardens month in month out, however, & here are some reasons why:
If you've burned any old pressure-treated wood the ashes will likely contain arsenic & so are hazardous. If you've burned any paper printed with vibrant colors, some of the metals in the inks may well be toxic. Painted wood can be a danger too. Ashes from charcoal burning barbeques are toxic from the bonding agents in commercially made charcoal, so never scatter ashes from a barbecue pit. Pressed wood, prestologs, cardboards, & plywood all have bonding agents, perservatives, & glues that can make the ashes toxic. Lots of miscellaneous papers may well be heavily chemicalized in the manufacture process. A little plain newsprint with black inks (which are no longer petroleum based, but are usually soy-based & harmless) is fine if the majority of the ash is from natural wood; but if the ash were primarily burnt paper, this will also have bonding agents & recycle-bleaches that can add toxic salts to a compost or garden.
Composting fanatics use woodstove ashes most gladly, but will warn against over-use not only for the possibility of toxic salts & poisons from burning chemicalized materials, & the threat of excessive alkalinity from using too many ashes too often, but also point out that an unexpected lingering coal can set the pile to smouldering."
(http://www.paghat.com/fireplaceashes.html )
"charcoal ash, contains sulfur dioxide which can harm plants "
(http://www.townofcary.org/depts/pwdept/recycling/compost.htm )
Bad Compost Stuff Dog, cat, or human feces Coal or charcoal ashes Diseased garden plants Glossy, slick, or colored magazines Meat and meat products (including grease, gravy, bones) Pesticide- or herbicide-sprayed plant material Bermuda grass Noxious or invasive weeds (such as poison oak and poison ivy); weeds that resprout from cuttings (such as blackberry and spiderwort); weeds in seed (especially those with heat tolerant seeds like buttercup, bindweed, burdock, cheeseweed, and quack grass)
(http://www.smithandhawken.com/html/resource/rsc_compost/rsc_compost03.jhtml )
"The following materials SHOULD NOT BE COMPOSTED:
Human waste or pet litter - They carry diseases and parasites, as well as cause an unpleasant odor. Diseased garden plants - They can infect the compost pile and influence the finished product. Invasive weeds - Spores and seeds of invasive weeds (buttercups, morning glory, quack grass) can survive the decomposition process and spread to your desired plants when you use the finished compost. Charcoal ashes - They are toxic to the soil microorganisms. Glossy paper - The inks are toxic to the soil microorganisms. "
(http://home.howstuffworks.com/composting2.htm )
"Materials to avoid:
Large branches or logs Plastics or synthetic fibers Manure from meat eating animals Meats, fatty/oily foods Plants that have been treated with herbicides/pesticides Charcoal ashes"
(http://4.18.61.11/government/departments/publicworks/services/composting.htm )
.........And about 7,000 more
However, there is one single website that suggests that using charcoal ashes from the grill is a good thing. It is a website that teaches people how to grow tobacco.
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snipped-for-privacy@xxoptonline.net (Tom Miller) wrote in

I sure would not *eat any food* cooked over such materials. Good way to get poisoned.

Just what ARE the "bonding agents" used in briquettes? Certainly not what's used in wood products for construction. After all,they ARE intended for FOOD cooking.

--
Jim Yanik
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