How to Dispose of Wood: Sustainable and Safe Methods

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Disposing of wood could endanger you and the planet if you do not know how to do it. On the other hand, you could also be breaching the law without realizing it.

In this article, I’ll be sharing various options on how to dispose of wood in a safe and eco-friendly manner.

Wood Properties to Know

various lumber thickness

Safety Precautions

Those who want to safely dispose of wood from business activities or residential use must be equipped with the necessary gear. 

Some of the most basic yet crucial equipment are hard helmets, safety-yellow and green vests or shirts, heavy-duty gloves, rubber or steel-toed boots, safety glasses, and dust masks. 

You might be dealing with big pieces of wood and loose sharp nails, so it’s best to protect yourself from accidental scratches and injuries.

Tree Branches or Battered Wood

1. Use twine or rope to bundle the wood together.

Many municipalities request firewood disposal. To make wood disposal easier, I recommend using twine or rope to bundle the wood together. You can easily carry each bundle.

The garbage collection service might say no if the stacks are too big for city ordinances.

tying wood

2. Get in touch with the city’s trash service.

Almost every municipality has a program to collect tree trimmings, tree trunks, scrap lumber, and other forms of decayed wood.

Some municipalities will collect them along with the weekly garbage, while others will need a separate appointment for their collection. To find out the specific guidelines and what types of wood your city will accept, I recommend getting in touch with the waste management office.

3. Put the wood together with the rest of your trash for the usual collection.

Don’t put the stacks out with the trash until the evening before pickup. Store the logs beside the trash cans and bags. Your regular garbage service will come and take the wood away.

4. If needed, dispose of the wood at any facility that accepts such materials.

Research online to locate a local facility that accepts recycled wood products. You can recycle the wood by throwing it in your car and driving it there during business hours.

wood scrap facility

5. You can schedule a pickup if the sanitation workers don’t take your bulky bundles. 

Removal of wood and yard garbage may require arranging a special collection with the city’s waste department or paying a private disposal company to come and take it away. [1]

Find out what services the city offers for collecting and disposing of large yard debris to schedule a pickup.

6. Alternatively, you can choose which you can use to burn some wood in your fireplace. 

Split the logs in half lengthwise, then split them again across the width using an axe or maul if you have a fireplace. Time spent burning wood in a fireplace is an efficient way to dispose of it.

7. Use mulched wood in a yard or garden as a soil amendment. 

mulching wood scraps

You may rent a wood chipper for this purpose. Once fed to the chipper, you can then scatter the wood chips around the plants to help retain moisture and prevent weed growth. Mulching can be cost-effective if you have a lot of huge branches that need to be removed.

Wooden Furniture and Display Pieces

1. If you can’t arrange a free pickup, you’ll need to pay for a waste management service.

I recommend getting in touch with a furniture removal service to arrange pickup and disposal. Regardless of the item’s size, the price could range from $50 to $100.

2. Get in touch with the local garbage collection service to arrange trash removal. 

You may also contact your city’s regular garbage collection service. Put your furniture in the trash or arrange a special pickup if they accept it. 

3. If you don’t want to reuse these pieces, recycle them. 

Put the wood in a separate location to recycle the individual components independently.

To find lumber recycling facilities in your area, I suggest looking them up on the internet or getting in touch with your local waste management office. Wood that has not been treated chemically is another option for your next DIY project.

sealing furniture

4. Donate used wooden furniture to those in need.

Donating used furniture and other household goods to charity is a great idea. You should drive the things to the store personally, but first, you must call ahead to arrange a drop-off. Giving them away to friends and family is another choice.

Construction Lumber

1. Separate the raw lumber from the painted and treated pieces.

There may be an ink stamp on the wood, or the wood may be a greenish color that turns silvery with age.

Wood that has been painted is simpler to recognize and cannot be recycled until the paint is scraped off. Because it is impossible to extract the toxic compounds from this wood, it is disposed of separately.

2. If you intend to dispose of them, remove the nails first.

Whether you’re throwing out or recycling old planks of lumber, you’ll need nails or a claw hammer. Pull out the nails ahead of time to protect your recycling and chipping machinery. 

construction lumber scraps

3. Buy and sell useable wood on the web.

Selling your surplus building materials online is a great option if you have a wide selection of usable materials and aren’t in a hurry to dispose of them.

Document everything carefully and submit your ad on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Don’t arrange the pick-up until a buyer has contacted you and agreed on a price.

4. Save money and find new uses for old wood by recycling it. 

When you find yourself with salvaged wood and metal, there are various creative ways to put them to good use. Personally, I love the idea of creating beautiful planter boxes or a brand new deck using these materials. If you’re not in the mood for a DIY project, consider donating your unwanted wood to a friend or neighbor who might have a use for it. Alternatively, you can drop it off at a local recycling or salvage shop to ensure it gets a second life.

5. Provide your neighbors with a certain amount of good lumber free of charge. 

List your wood for free on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or your neighborhood Facebook group. Allow the locals to come by and take the wood as they can.

If you don’t plan on using a piece of wood soon, I advise you find it a new home.

milling lumber

6. Dispose of treated or painted wood at an appropriate facility.

Get in touch with your local waste management providers or your organization’s waste management division to locate an appropriate facility. They will instruct you on where to deliver. Load up your car with the wood and take them to the storage shed.

Old Wood Decking

1. Use It Again

A fantastic alternative, and one I’ve personally found quite practical, is to make the most of your wood decking if it’s still in usable condition. Decking materials such as PVC, composite, redwood, and cedar are among the most costly building materials, and treated wood is no exception.

2. Sell them.

Decking materials are made to survive for decades, perhaps centuries. Keeping this in mind, it’s likely that some of the stuff you’re throwing out is usable.

Decking material is pricey. Therefore, someone may be ready to pay just a fraction of what new boards would cost to acquire your old ones. Don’t discount the possibility of selling your old wood via an internet classifieds site.

deck stained with Ready Seal Wood's Sealer and Stain

3. Garbage Collection

On designated days, many local governments may arrange for the collection of construction debris and large household goods at no cost or a small fee.

If you have old wood and are wondering if your local trash management organization would pick it up, you can call them or seek them up online.

4. Share it

Depending on the condition of the wood, one straightforward solution I’ve personally used is to place it on the sidewalk with a “Free Wood” sign.

You can also post an ad on a classified site offering free lumber. You wouldn’t believe so many people can make something valuable out of something worthless.

Other Options

Wood Processing Facility

Many wood waste processors don’t even ask for disposal fees for clean wood, and the cost of disposing of wood at a processing facility is often only a third of the expense of discarding it in a landfill.

Through advanced techniques like chipping, grinding, and shredding, the wood is transformed into mulch, wood chips, or biomass fuel, depending on its quality and purpose.

wood processing facility


A biomass-to-energy generator that can convert wood into power is the next best choice after trying to reuse, recycle, and compost it. Any form of fuel combustion produces pollution; burning wood produces fewer pollutants than most fossil fuels.


The wood should be thrown away in a landfill as a last resort. The landfill will usually weigh your car at entry and exit and charge you based on the weight of your trash. Standard fees are extremely minimal.


By following this guide, you’ll be able to efficiently dispose of wood in ways that are legal and environmentally friendly. I’d strongly recommend wearing protective clothing, especially when dealing with weathered wood, construction lumber, or old decking. It’s essential to stay safe during the disposal process.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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