Ask the Experts: How Can I Dispose of Charcoal?

recycle questions

Have a tough recycling question?
We’re here to help! Ask the Experts »

Q: How Can I Dispose of Charcoal? Can it be Reused or Repurposed?

A: We all know what summer means: It’s time to get grilling! If you’re grilling with charcoal, make sure you follow these instructions to dispose of leftover coals and ashes safely.

How to Dispose of Charcoal

Allow ashes to cool or pour water onto them and stir thoroughly to speed up the process. After the ashes have fully cooled, wrap them in aluminum foil or place them in a small metal container, such as a coffee can. Then dispose of them in an outdoor garbage bin. Do not place ashes or coals near anything that could catch fire.

How to Reuse Charcoal

Want to put used charcoal to good use before tossing it? You can grill with charcoal more than once! Simply follow these steps:

  1. Once coals have cooled (see above), rake through used charcoal to dislodge extra ash.
  2. Empty loose ash from the grill.
  3. Add half the amount of new charcoal you would normally use to start the grill.
  4. Light the charcoal. Wait 5-10 minutes before adding food to the grill.

Want more recycling and waste-related content? Subscribe to our bi-monthly e-newsletter, The Loop, for the most current recycling, garbage and waste reduction news: