Garden and Yard Waste DIY Incinerator

Having plenty of plants and trees in and around the garden has its drawback sometimes. Disposing garden and yard waste for instance can become an occasional problem. By garden and yard waste, I'm referring to dried leaves, dead plants and cut foliage as a result of pruning or trimming.

Now there's no problem if there's only a little garden waste for disposal. For this, I put all garden rubbish inside a plastic bag and the neighborhood garbage collectors would haul it away. I didn't even have problems with disposing thorny branches. As long as it isn't a lot and it's neatly and properly bundled, then the garden trash will be collected by the garbage haulers.

I noticed though that the garbage collectors won't pick up cut branches that are too big or foliage that is too bulky. One reason is because the volume would easily take plenty of space in the garbage truck and therefore prevent the haulers from collecting the rest of the neighborhood's garbage. The second reason is that it takes longer for them to pick the bulky garden and yard waste and hauling it into the truck.

Another option to dispose yard waste, especially grass clippings, is through composting. I don't have a lot of space so what I do is to bag them in plastic woven sacks and put these sacks in a corner of the yard. Grass clippings (or cuttings) mostly have soft fleshy parts that will readily compost.

Burning Garden or Yard Waste

But what to do if the yard waste is aplenty and is mostly composed of twigs and leaves with long and tough petioles? These parts don't break down easily and takes too much time to compost.

The first time I had to deal with a big pile of garden waste was when I had a neighbor's tree cut (with their permission). I cut away the leaves and saved the wooden branches for fuel. I burned the leaves at the lawn. The job left so much leaves that it took a while to burn them all.

Sadly, I made a mistake of using a big garden clay pot as a receptacle for burning the leaves. After the leaves burned, I noticed that the smooth outside colored finish on the pot seemed to have burned and disappeared. After a few weeks, I noticed the the pot itself had a few cracks.

DIY Incinerator for Garden Waste

Thus started the quest for a receptacle that would be a good incinerator. Metal drums or garbage cans won't last long, I thought. All that burning and exposure to rains would easily rust the metal. Soon, there'd be holes everywhere.

I once saw someone in my neighborhood who burned his trash inside a shallow concrete pipe. The pipe was standing on one end and the top open end is where the trash went. What a great idea for an incinerator material. The concrete pipe won't burn and will withstand rain. It was big and airy. Since it was heavy, it won't just topple over to expose and scatter its contents. Besides, there's no reason to move it around frequently.

But where to find a concrete pipe similar to that one but won't cost me an arm and leg?

Source of Incinerator for Burning Trash

A good source would be a construction supply where concrete products like pipes are fabricated. Unlucky me, the owner of the construction supply didn't have any concrete pipes that had the dimensions I wanted. But, I did see some broken and some cracked concrete pipes that were blocking a parking lot. The owner apparently had set up these unusable and unsellable pipes as roadblocks in their parking lot. I offered to buy one, but the caretaker just gave one for free. Lucky me.

Here's my pipe as I hauled it from the concrete products supply.

The pipe is quite thick at 2 inches. That's enough to withstand plenty of heat and fire from all the burning. The pipe has an inside diameter of 12 inches and outside diameter of 16 inches. Standing on one end, the pipe is 2 feet high.

Its sheer size accounts for the heftiness of its weight. Around 2 or more persons are needed just to roll and move this around. I would've wanted a lower height and a bigger inside diameter, but hey, it's free.

There are huge vertical cracks (with the pipe standing on its end). There's even a missing concrete piece near the rim. With the piece missing, you can see a piece of the metal reinforcement which is really just a thin metal bar that goes around the pipe's rim.

I could use this junk for burning waste as is, but it really looked bad and may be unsafe to use. This needed plenty of work to patch the cracks, I said to myself.

Cleaning and Washing the Inside of the Incinerator

As its been sitting in the construction supply lot for a long time, it gathered plenty of dust and mud. So with a metal rod, I scraped much of the dirt inside and outside the pipe. You can see the dirt that I scraped off sitting on the grass inside the pipe.

Finally, a blast of water to wash away the loose sand and dirt particles still clinging on the surface.

Patching to Repair the Incinerator

With the metal reinforcement still intact, all what was needed is concrete mix to patch up the cracks. Fortunately, there was a building in construction in our neighborhood and I was able ask a bit of mixed concrete from the workers. They were doing mortar work at the time.

I'm no expert in masonry work, but I think I did an adequate job in filling in the cracks. Here's the pipe after all the patching has dried.

Notice how it filled in even the gaping hole on the rim. Here's an inside look.

It isn't pretty, but the patching job has adequately covered the holes and cracks.

Here's the garden trash incinerator after burning some dried yard waste.

The incinerator isn't pretty but is functional and will last a very long time. It has effectively burned dried leaves, dead plants and yard trash around the garden.

(See Part 2 for the continuation of this article)

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