Wood is often treated with chemical preservatives to protect it from insects. It puts away microorganisms and fungi that may cause it to decay or deteriorate. This is what treated wood is all about.
Coatings like oil stain, varnish andpaint that are applied on the surface ofwood are not considered to be preservatives.
Treated wood that is ready to be disposed of is referred to as treated wood waste. These are materials that have been permanently retired from use (including docks, fences, decks and timbers) or treated wood debris (such as trimmings, sawdust and scraps).
Generally, treated wood waste is considered to be non-hazardous. Still, it is best to discard of such waste by applying the steps mentioned below.
Step 1: Identify whether the wood waste has actually been treated with a preservative
Here’s how you can identify if the wood has been treated:
- The presence of an end tag or wood stamp indicates that the wood has been treated.
- Look for small, closely spaced cuttings orincisions on the full surface of the wood. Treated wood used in industrial or construction applications usually have such incisions on the entire surface of the wood. These incisions are made to boost treatment, so they are a good indication that the wood has been treated.
- Wood materials that have not been painted or stained usually have a greenish appearance, while those used forindustrial and transport applications possess a dark brown hue and smell slightly of petroleum.
- If you examine a crosscut section of the wood, you should find a darker hue in the outer .25 to 1 inch. That means it has been treated.
- Consider the type of project in which the wood was used, as well as its specific use within the project, is indicative of whether the wood is treated or not. For example, if the wood is not decay-resistant (like cedar) yet was exposed to the elements or came in contact with ground or water, then it is most likely that the wood has been treated.
Step 2: DisposeTheTreatedWoodWaste
If, following your investigations, you discover that the wood is indeed treated wood, do not discard it on land, do not burn it and do not use it as mulch. What can you do instead? Placethe treated wood inside disposal binsdedicated to treated wood and do the following:
- Find specifically approved co-generation facilities and use the wood there as fuel.
- Contact the landfills in your municipality. Locate one that has been granted permission or approval to accept treated wood. Then deliver the treated wood waste to them.
- Treated wood that has retired from residential use can be sent to a local household hazardous waste collection center, it an approved landfill, or a transfer station.
Caution When Handling Treated Wood
Always wear protective clothing when dealing with treated wood. Avoid any contact with skin whatsoever. Protective clothing include gloves, long sleeved shirts, dust masks and even eye protection. If an area of the skin happens to be exposed during handling, wash the area thoroughly with mild soap and water.