Burning Spring-cleanup Junk Does Not Make It Go Away

From a media release by the Solid Waste Advisory Committee of Networks Northwest


Burning waste spreads dangerous pollutants over the area and is largely illegal. Emmet County offers opportunities to recycle or compost 60 materials and a solid waste transfer station at their Pleasantview Road Drop-off Center.

It’s spring cleaning time and for many, that means gathering up all the unwanted items in the house, garage, and garden. The temptation to throw it into a burn pile, barrel, or even an outdoor boiler may be strong. But wait! Don’t light that match!

Burning of household items releases toxins into the air. The harmful dioxins and furans that are produced in the burning process don’t simply go up in smoke. They settle on yards, fields, forests and waterways and are in the ash that is left behind. From the air, the toxins and ash can find their way into the dirt of your vegetable garden and into the food that you eat. Kids playing in the area may be exposed to them as well. They can cause serious health concerns such as rashes, nausea, dizziness and headaches, burning or itching eyes and nose, coughing, aggravation of respiratory ailments, and are associated with an increase of heart disease. And, the longer a fire burns and smolders more toxins are produced.

And there is always a risk of the burn pile getting out of control and creating a damaging, accidental fire–especially in the spring, when last year’s dead grass and leaves are often dry and exposed.

Not only is backyard burning harmful to your health and the environment, it is also against the law.   Public Act 102 of 2012 prohibits burning of waste that contains plastic, rubber, foam, chemically treated wood, textiles, electronics, chemicals, hazardous materials.

Don’t light that match!  Reduce, reuse, recycle, compost, and then dispose of the rest with a commercial waste hauler or your local transfer station. For more information on these alternatives—many of which are offered free of charge–visit EmmetRecycling.org

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Emmet County Department of Public Works
200 Division Street, G-76, Petoskey, MI 49770 • 231-348-0640

For additional information on Emmet County, please visit www.emmetcounty.org

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