Never put coals or ashes in recycling or yard debris containers. COURTESY PHOTO, WM

Never put coals or ashes in recycling or yard debris containers. COURTESY PHOTO, WM

Got your grill on? Hot Coals – great for Burgers, bad for garbage

  • Friday, August 2, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

Summer has finally arrived in Auburn. The sun is shining, gardens are thriving, and the neighborhood pool is overflowing with children and their gleeful screams.

Now add the smell of sizzling veggies and burgers wafting through the air. Yes, it’s time to get your grill on!

It’s also time make sure your summer meal plan includes cooling and wetting down coals after the barbecue.

If you don’t, hot coals could start a fire – in your garbage container, in the Waste Management truck that collects your garbage, or even down the road at the transfer station or landfill.

While coals and ashes may appear cool, they can stay hot for days after cooking is over. And when they are disposed of while still hot, coals can create fire risk for your family, neighbors, and Waste Management drivers.

And it happens often. Throughout the summer, Waste Management drivers have to make emergency stops to empty their trucks and call the fire department to fight fires caused by hot coals put in containers.

In fact, a fire broke out in the back of a Waste Management truck in a commercial area in the Puget Sound region in July. Someone had tossed flammable materials into a garbage dumpster. The driver did exactly as he was trained: he pulled over, dumped his load, and worked with firefighters to put out the fire. As a result, no one was injured and there was no damage to local businesses.

Even so, flammable materials in the garbage created a safety risk for the community – a danger that could have been avoided.

Waste Management drivers even come across containers that have melted to the ground because of carelessly handled ashes or coals, and local firefighters frequently respond to fires in garbage and recycling containers.

Even after they are cool, putting coals or ashes in your recycling or yard debris container results in the whole container going to the landfill because everything is contaminated.

Safety tips

• Let coals and ashes cool for several days in the grill or fireplace before handling.

• After they are cool, transfer them to a metal container and wet them down. Keep the container outside and away from combustibles.

• Do not use galvanized containers, as hot coals will release noxious fumes when in contact with galvanized metal.

• Do not place other combustibles in the container.

• Once coals and ashes are completely cool, bag them and put them in your garbage container or bring them to a transfer station or landfill. Better yet, spread them around the garden or add them to your compost bin.

• Never put coals or ashes in recycling or yard debris containers.

Here’s to a summer of safe – and delicious – grilling.

Hannah Scholes is Waste Management’s recycling education and outreach manager. To see what’s recyclable in Auburn go to WMNorthwest.com/Auburn.

More in Opinion

A look at the races for the state’s 9 top jobs

Nine of the most powerful political jobs in Washington state will be… Continue reading

Diverse programs serve diverse communities

Waste Management’s outreach programs make waste reduction and recycling accessible to everyone

Amateurism must be maintained to preserve education-based sports

While we addressed a number of important issues with our member state… Continue reading

High costs drive people to move

Too often, elected officials overlook the cumulative costs of regulations, taxes and… Continue reading

This political break-up couldn’t come at a worse time

As backers of I-1000 gear up, a legal spat involving others is casting a shadow on their efforts.

High school football is thriving, not dying

By Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS executive director When the annual High School… Continue reading

Sen. Mona Das. COURESY PHOTO
After a senator’s claim is debunked, a call for an apology

The GOP wants a Democratic senator held to account for accusations which an investigation found to be false

Mitsubishi launching into regional jet space

Traditionally, media coverage of the Paris Air Show focuses on the battle… Continue reading

Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease this Grandparents Day

Pacific Medical Centers doctor shares top signs of the disease, as well as tips to maintain cognitive health

It is time to talk about our national debt

Our nation is on an unsustainable borrowing trajectory and it could get… Continue reading

Libraries are welcoming spaces for everyone

King County Library System is committed to inclusion – the idea that… Continue reading

Gov. Jay Inslee. REPORTER FILE PHOTO
Inslee passes up a chance to confront corporate ‘blackmail’

Governor skipped a meeting about tax breaks, he said, Boeing squeezed out of the state.