Recycling Fireplace Ash
Name: Jane C.
What can we do with the ash from our fireplace, we burn a
mixture of wood and coal. We recycle as much of our household waste as
possible, not sure where to put ash.
There are two considerations here that involve the impact of wood ash and
coal ash. Wood ash contains a significant amount of Na2O, and K2O. The
latter is "potash" which is good for plants but the wood ash can be quite
alkaline. So one needs to be careful about adding it indiscriminantly to
plants because the pH can get quite high. Coal ash also can contain a
significant amount of "coal tar" -- poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's)
that do not readily burn, but can have significant toxicity if ingested.
PAH's can also be leached into ground water. In this case I question the
environmental "soundness" of just dumping coal wastes in/on the ground.
I put mine in my garden to moderate the high acidic soil but I live in the
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Update: June 2012