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

  • Wednesday, July 31, 2019 3:15pm
  • 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.

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 both 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.

So, as you embrace all that is fun and delicious about summer, Waste Management urges you to add safety to your backyard barbecue plans, to protect yourself and our community.

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.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

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

More in Opinion

Richard Elfers is a columnist, a former Enumclaw City Council member and a Green River College professor.
Age of insanity for the left and the right

Do you feel that, like the COVID-19 pandemic, insane behavior is spreading… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Should the King County sheriff be elected or appointed? | Roegner

The question for King County residents is more complicated than it appears.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Who will advance to the November election? | Roegner

Races underway across state and King County.

Maybe there’s one silver lining in this current dark cloud

The pandemic has revealed President Trump’s weaknesses like never before.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Reopen schools in fall, but do it safely

Don’t bully schools into reopening. Protect our students.

Guests gather to view a photo of Pilchuck Julia during the naming ceremony of the Snohomish River boat landing named for her in August, 2019. (Kevin Clark / Herald file photo)
Editorial: What history is owed through our monuments

The decisions regarding whom we honor in our public squares require deliberation and consensus.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Points of contention on police inquests in King County

Inquests frequently unfold against a backdrop of sadness and drama: Family members’… Continue reading

Jayendrina Singha Ray is a PhD (ABD) in English, with a research focus on the works of the South African Nobel Laureate John Maxwell Coetzee. She teaches English Composition and Research Writing at Highline College, WA, and has previously taught English at colleges in India.
The search for selfhood

What really matters is the desire to find.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Defund the police department? | Roegner

Our country is at a defining moment in our search for true… Continue reading

Why this newspaper is capitalizing Black | Editorial

Moving forward, the Auburn Reporter will capitalize Black when referring to the… Continue reading

Doreen Davis, left in mask, waves at parade participants on May 2. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Wear your face-hugging, ever-loving mask | Editorial

“Don’t make me come down there.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo,… Continue reading