How can I reuse or recycle wooden fencing?

We’ve had an email from Ste:

What are the options for tanalised overlap fencing panels?

Tanalised wood lasts longer outside without maintenance but it is a bit more problematic to dispose of as it’s been treated with chromated copper arsenate – toxins ahoy! It’s not recommended to burn on open fires or in woodburning stoves, and I wouldn’t want those chemicals anywhere near my compost heap either. They can apparently be burnt in industrial incinerators but that’s usually a last ditch “solution”.

The better option would be to reuse them if possible. If it’s simple a case of no longer wanting them, offer them on Freecycle/Freegle – I think it’s almost guaranteed that someone will want them. People will still probably want them for spares or repairs if they’re damaged, or cut them down to make small panels out of the undamaged bits.

Any other suggestions?

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3 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle wooden fencing?”

  1. roger says:

    You said you wouldn’t want to compost it, you could potentially use it to make a compost bin, heap, kind of thing, line it with a tarp.

  2. Thornton Kay says:

    The picture accompanying this item shows a fence panel which looks to have been treated with a creosote-type of wood preservative, as opposed to CCA which would leave it looking pale green.

    One of the active ingredients of creosote (and the reason its use is no longer allowed in high concentrations in Europe) is benzopyrene. This natural chemical is also present in cigarettes and is believed to be the cause of lung cancer. I am no chemist, but I believe that benzopyrene is broken down by microbes in soil and can be destroyed by heat (I don’t know how much) and sunlight.

    Use the word ‘toxins’ with care: pure water is toxic to humans if drunk in sufficient quantity. A chemical is only toxic if it is present in sufficient quantity to be harmful to health.

    By the way, benzopyrene is also present in smoked fish because it is present in the pitch constituent of wood, especially softwoods like pine. For this reason the EU is considering banning some types of smoked fish!

  3. CJ says:

    I was considering taking the larch lengths and cutting them into smaller regular lengths and using them like shingles to roof my outdoor toolstore.

    Not sure how that might work out. Has to be a fair chance they will warp. But I’d like to find something to do with these!

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