Can You Burn Swing Set Wood? The (Nasty) Truth

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It can actually be quite a wrench saying goodbye to that swing set that has kept your child entertained as they grow up.

No longer will you hear the whooping and hollering of them having fun in your backyard, instead they could be heading out with friends or even going off to college.

It is just another sign they are growing older and more independent and don’t need you as much…

So what can you do with a no longer used swing set? And can you burn swing set wood?

That is what we are looking at today.

Can You Burn Swing Set Wood?

As a swing set will be made of treated wood it should never be burned. Burning treated wood releases the chemicals used to preserve it into the atmosphere, and they can be harmful to any living organism. Instead, think about repurposing it or selling it/donating it to someone else to enjoy.

Thinking About Burning Your Wooden Swing Set – Don’t!

Wood being burnt

A brand-new wooden swing set will look fantastic and is undeniably durable and sturdy.

However, anyone who has had a wooden swing set for any decent period of time will know that once summer has gone and the colder and wetter months settle in, it does need a bit more TLC.

Now of course swing set manufacturers are aware of this too, and they do what they can to help your wooden swing set withstand the elements and last as long as possible.

And it is what they do, that is the reason you should never burn swing set wood.

During the production process swing set wood is treated.

That means preservative chemicals are applied to it to make it last as long as possible.

Treating swing set wood stops it rotting and protects it against mold, moisture, bugs such as termites and, in short, means that when untreated wood would be degrading, treated wood maintains its integrity and will last much longer.

RELATED ===> Buyers Guide: The Best Swing Sets on the Market

You might have noticed a keyword a couple of sentences above – ‘chemicals’.

The problem with burning swing set wood is that it will release these toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.

And the chemicals used to treat the wood are pesticides and fungicides, that you don’t want swirling around your garden!

In all fairness, swing set manufacturers have made great strides in recent years in making the process of treating wood safer.

Pre-2004, swing set wood would most likely have been treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA), and this you most definitely do not want to burn.

CCA is made of copper, chromium and arsenic, and even if you are a complete non-scientist (like me!), you will know arsenic is not a good thing to release into the atmosphere anywhere.

In fact, chromium and arsenic are both highly toxic and have carcinogenic properties.

The authorities obviously noted the danger of CCA-treated wood as well, because from 2004 onwards it was phased out.

Now, most woods are treated with alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ), which is a water-based wood treatment and is a huge stride forward.

But it still isn’t safe to burn it.

ACQ is much safer, but it will still emit copper when it is being burnt, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers even ACQ pressure-treated lumber as hazardous waste.

So in short, you will need to find another way of disposing of your old wooden swing set and that brings us neatly onto…

What Can You Do With An Old Wooden Swing Set?

#1: Repurpose It

Just because your children have outgrown your swing set, it doesn’t mean it is of no use to you anymore.

In fact, with a little creativity and DIY skills, your old swing set can be repurposed to take on a whole new life!

Here are some common suggestions:

  • Turn it into a garden space, like a hanging garden.
  • Make a mini greenhouse.
  • Convert it to a spot for adults to relax.
  • Make a chicken coop.
  • Turn it into an arbor

Even though it might not be good for playing anymore, there is a huge amount of potential. Find out how one lady converted an old swing set into a beautiful adult hangout with hammock chairs, lights and cushions.

#2: Reuse or Recycle It

A slight variation on the theme mentioned above, but if you decide not to repurpose your swing set, you most definitely could reuse the wood for other purposes.

Maybe it could be turned into a new workbench, a flower box, picture frames, used for shelves, or a whole lot more.

#3: Sell It Or Donate It

If your swing set is in good shape you could try selling it on Craiglist, Facebook or eBay.

Remember that you will probably want to specify that the buyer has to come and collect it.

Or maybe you could simply give it away for free if you know of someone that needs a swing set.

Consider any organizations that might benefit from such a donation, be it schools, churches or local youth groups.

#4: Get the Junk Men In

If your swing set has gone beyond the point of no return and will be of no use to you or anyone else it might be time to call the junk men in so they can take it away for you.

It will cost you money, but at least it will free up that space in your garden for a new project!

#5: Take It To Landfill

If you don’t want to get the junk men in, then you can always dispose of it at the local landfill site.

Remember though that you will need to break the swing set down before you can take it there, and that is a job in itself!

Final Thoughts

INFOGRAPHIC explaining Can You Burn Swing Set Wood
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The short answer is, no you should not burn a wooden swing set.

However, why not see it as a way to get creative and convert the swing set to something amazing and eye-catching?

There is a plethora of ideas for repurposing a swing set, and a quick Google will show you how some ex-swing sets have been put to amazing new uses.

Failing that the wood could be put to a number of practical uses around your house or yard.

Or you could do a good deed and give it away to someone who would really benefit from it.

The swing set has most likely brought your children (and you) many happy memories over the years and that doesn’t have to end now.

Good luck!

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