Burning Wastes

Anna Aldridge Technical Topics

The best bet is to reduce, reuse, recycle and not burn at all

The burning of farm wastes is subject to provincial regulation.  However, the best option is to avoid the regulation process by not burning at all – in other words, reduce, reuse and recycle. This is where an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) can help. Developing an EFP can help producers develop a personalized strategy to safely manage farm waste and a number of other on-farm environmental risks.

Open burning barrels, commonly used in the past to dispose of various farm wastes, can present a number of health and environmental risks. They typically do not reach temperatures high enough to completely incinerate waste and destroy dangerous chemicals created in the burning process. Barrels tend to smoulder and smoke and can release toxic materials into the surrounding area.

Approved incinerators

For producers interested in having an approved incinerator on their farm or ranch, Alberta Environment’s Code of Practice for Small Incinerators lays out the legal requirements related to the design factors of small incinerators. The Code is available at the Province of Alberta Queen’s Printer Web site HERE.

What can be burned

According to the Substance Release Regulation of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, wastes that can be legally burned include:

-Brush and fallen trees
-Wood or wood products that do not contain preservatives
-Solid wastes from tree harvesting, straw, stubble, grass, weeds, leaves and tree prunings
-Used power or telephone poles that do not contain preservatives
-Solid waste from post and pole operations that does not contain preservatives

What can’t be burned

The Act also defines waste materials that cannot be burned. Prohibited materials include:

-Animal manure
-Pathological waste
-Wood or wood products containing wood preservatives
-Waste materials from construction sites
-Rubber, including tires
-Plastics, including baler twine
-Oil
-Containers that held pesticides or other chemicals
-Plastic or rubber coated materials, including copper wire
-Any waste that causes dense smoke or offensive odours or releases toxic substances

Available Assistance
Information and assistance on managing farm wastes is available from EFP Technicians throughout the province.

This article may be reprinted with the credit:  Alberta Environmental Farm Plan
For more how-to fact sheets or other information, visit www.albertaEFP.com.

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