Recycling for Wood That’s Painted/Treated

Generally speaking, wood that has been painted or treated is not very recyclable. The chemicals in treated lumber are really not the types of things that you would want to come into contact with. They include creosote, which is a complex chemical derived from coal tar. There are other chemicals that are used in the treatment of lumbar, as well, and many of the chemicals contained in paint are environmentally toxic. Recycling wood that’s been painted or treated is generally actually a matter of sending it off to the right place to be destroyed.

Why Do This?

Some people have enough property where they have the option of burning materials if they want. While it may not be legally permitted for them to do so, some people choose to do it anyway and they tend to burn building materials such as lumber indiscriminately. Burning treated lumber is much more dangerous than burning your average two by four. This lumber contains chemicals that are released when they are burned, and those chemicals can be very toxic to the environment and to the people nearby. Painted lumber has the same risk associated with it and must be disposed of properly.


Getting rid of treated or painted lumber generally involves trucking it off to a facility that has the right type of burning equipment. The lumber will be burned and the toxins that are produced when it is combusted will be collected by specialized equipment. This ensures that it doesn’t make its way back into the environment and it ensures that everything is handled in the safest way possible. If you’re worried about whether or not any lumber that you need to get rid of is recyclable, you can simply ask a local recycling plant or your municipality about whether the type of treatment or paint that the lumber is contaminated with makes a nonrecyclable.