Subflooring and home furniture are often made of particle board because of its reliability at an affordable price. However, this also means that this type of board does not last forever. When this material breaks down, can you get rid of it by burning it?
You can burn a piece of particle board, but that does not necessarily mean you should do so. Local laws will most likely prohibit you from burning these boards since they can emit fumes that are harmful to people and the environment.
This article will explain why burning unwanted boards is probably a bad idea and what you can do instead to get rid of old boards.
What Is Particle Board?
Particle board (also called chipboard) is an excellent building material that comes in handy when manufacturing furniture or countertops. It is constructed from natural wood components like wood scraps, chips, and shavings into a usable sheet.
Chipboard is quite effective when making cabinets, countertops, and subflooring. It is an affordable and nature-friendly product, so many professional builders and DIYers like it. This means that this material is present in high quantities in many homes.
However, it is essential to note that there are health risks when using this board as a building material—even more so when it burns, as you will read below.
Will Particle Board Burn?
Particle board comes in various densities depending on what the intended purpose is. If you happen to replace your flooring, you might have to tear out quite a bit of board in the process. Just leaving it lying around is not an option.
Since particle board is made of wood scraps, chips, and shavings, it is sure to burn regardless of its density. However, most experts will advise you not to burn these boards since they also contain other materials that are not as environmentally friendly.
Burning these boards will release toxic chemicals. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), this building material contains formaldehyde which can cause cancer.
There are safer ways to get rid of torn-out or unwanted boards, such as taking them to your local landfill or waste disposal facility. This might require a bit more effort, but it is worth it in the end to avoid health issues and even legal troubles.
Is Burning Particle Board Bad?
Realizing that particle board releases harmful chemicals when burned should keep people from doing so, but that is not always the case. Can doing really lead to severe consequences? Is burning these boards actually that bad?
Burning particle board is terrible in various ways. To begin with, the nasty chemicals that this material lets loose when ignited are bad for people’s health and the environment. Many local and state governments also prohibit people from burning these boards, so doing so can land you in hot legal waters.
Health Problems from Burning Particle Board
According to a controlled study, living in a home with a bunch of particle board can lead to health complications such as bronchitis, eye and nose irritation, and coughing. Now, imagine how much more severe those complications can be when this material burns and you inhale it.
If it only had natural waste like real wood chips and shavings in it, then you could burn it safely. But something has to hold those wood bits together: glue. Wood with glue is generally unsafe to burn.
These boards also contain formaldehyde, which is particularly dangerous when this material is burned as toxic fumes spread all around the immediate area.
Burning these boards and inhaling their dangerous fumes can cause respiratory problems, so this is never a good idea.
Legality of Burning Particle Board
Busted furniture can be such a hassle to throw away, and that has led many people in the past to burn it in their backyard or other open areas.
This is concerning to all of us because of the health risk and environmental hazards. With this in mind, local authorities often enact laws against burning particle board.
If you are thinking about burning even a tiny amount of these boards, you should check local ordinances and laws to make sure that you do not land in legal trouble.
Can Particle Board Be Burned Safely?
Particle board is often a go-to choice for inexpensive furniture, cabinets, and more. As such, plenty of homes have more than a handful of this material.
When these items start to show signs of tear and wear, you might want to get rid of it. Burning it away or using it for your wood stove might come to mind, but is it safe?
If you absolutely have to burn particle board and it is legal to do so where you live, you should do so outside to have as much ventilation as possible. Wear a respirator for additional safety. Burning particle board indoors in a wood stove, fireplace, or backyard fire pit is not safe at all.
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How to Safely Dispose of Particle Board
When it comes down to it, you really should not be burning these boards at all because of the toxic fumes that burning them will emit. Instead, if you have boards that you need to dispose of, you should take them to your local landfill or waste disposal center.
Something else to consider is that you do not necessarily have to throw particle board away. If you have some pieces from ruined furniture lying around, you might be able to repurpose them so long as they’re not frayed or water damaged.
Even though this wood product will burn relatively easily—especially in a stove—you should avoid doing so because of the health effects associated with it. The best alternative is to take any unwanted boards to a garbage disposal facility.
Whatever you do, don’t use particle boards to cook food and don’t inhale any smoke from burning boards.