How To Dispose Of Charcoal

Charcoal is essential to creating smoky flavors whilst grilling your food and creating that perfectly seared look on your meat.

However, the aftermath of cleaning up and disposing of charcoal can be an absolute nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing. 

We’ll be showing you the best ways that you can dispose of your used charcoal and also be giving you some great tips on how to recycle your charcoal and put it to even more use. 

How To Dispose Of Charcoal

Wait For Your Charcoal to Cool/Extinguish

Before you even consider moving the charcoal out from your grill you’ll want to leave the charcoal to cool down completely or try and extinguish it yourself.

If you’ve got a grill that has a lid and some vents then close them when you’re finished with your cooking and try to starve the coal of oxygen so they extinguish.

By doing this you’ll also have a better chance of having some unused charcoal left over that you can use again next time you grill, however, before reusing this charcoal again you’ll want to try and remove as much ash as possible. 

If you don’t have a grill with a lid or vents, then you’ll just have to wait for the charcoal to naturally burn out, which can take several hours.

If you don’t have the time to wait around until it burns out then you can use some water or some sand to extinguish the charcoal. 

Once it’s extinguished, you should leave it 24-48 hours before trying to move the ashes and the burnt charcoal so you don’t get burned. 

Wrap It In Foil To Dispose Of It

For any charcoal that has additives or isn’t made from wood, like charcoal briquettes then you’ll need to dispose of these the right way as it cannot be reused or recycled due to the additives as they can be harmful to pets and humans.

If you’re not sure what kind of charcoal you have and you don’t have the packaging that it came in, then it’s best to dispose of it instead of incurring any risks trying to reuse it elsewhere.

Wrap all the used ash and charcoal into aluminum foil or place them into a small metal container like a coffee can and dispose of them in your outdoor garbage bin. Make sure to not place the ashes or the coal anywhere near anything that could easily catch fire.

Reuse Your Charcoal

Now if you were lucky enough to buy additive-free charcoal then you’ll be able to reap the benefits by recycling it and getting the most of your money.


The ashes from additive-free wood charcoal can be used as a fertilizer as it contains potassium carbonate which adds tons of nutrition to help plants grow.

Potassium carbonate raises the pH levels in the soil in your yard making it more alkaline, so if you’re growing plants or flowers that require an alkaline fertilizer you can use ash as a natural one instead. 

However, if you’ve got plants or flowers that require acidic fertilizer then applying ash to it could be detrimental to their health and you could make them die if you apply too much.

Do some research into what plants or grass you have around your yard before applying any. 

Natural Pesticide

If you’ve got a problem with bugs or pests around any plants or growing vegetables, then many gardens recommend combining an ounce of your used ash with an ounce of some water and lime to make a solution.

Then put your solution into a spray bottle and spray as needed over your plants to protect them from pests like beetles.

You can also use this solution to deter pests outside chicken coops and birdcages you may have around your home, especially small pests like lice. 

What To Do With Unused Charcoal

If grilling season is over and you want to put any leftover or unused charcoal to good use then you can follow various routes to get the most bang out of your buck.

Gets Rid Of Odors

Surprisingly, charcoal can be used to reduce odors around your home.

If you’ve got some particularly smelly foods like cheese or vegetables in your fridge that are really pungent, then you can put a piece of charcoal inside a sock or in a cloth and it’ll absorb the odors. 

You can also do this procedure if you’ve got a strong odor coming from shoes – just make sure to put the piece of charcoal inside something so it doesn’t stain the inside of your shoe. 

Use It In Your Compost

Used additive-free charcoal can be used as fertilizer for your plants, but unused charcoal can be used in your compost heap to increase the carbon content.

The plants will absorb the carbon content and convert it into energy for growth, so it works as a natural fertilizer. 

Use It In Your Vases

Having freshly cut flowers from your garden or a florist does make a house look beautiful, but they only last for about a week before they begin to look sad and start wilting.

If you want to try and extend the life of your flowers in a vase, then try placing one piece of charcoal into a flower vase (with the water) to try and make them last longer.

Just like we mentioned above, the flowers will absorb the carbon from the charcoal and help the flowers grow or look stronger for longer. 

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