How To Dispose And Recycle Charcoal After Grilling

How To Dispose And Recycle Charcoal After Grilling

After you have finished the rather tiring but enjoyable grilling process and have enjoyed your meal too, all that’s left is disposing of the used charcoal. If you are wondering how to do this, you’ve come to just the right place.

We are aware that the party clean-up can get tedious and boring sometimes. However, we’re here to help you with that. What if we told you, you can dispose of the used charcoal in a fun way while also being economical?

Sounds great, doesn’t it? In this article, we will explain how you can treat used charcoal once the process of grilling is complete. We also have some fun, engaging and exciting ways in which you can use this charcoal to make your chores around the house a tad bit easier.

Would you be surprised to learn that you can use this charcoal as fertilizer for your plants and as pest control too? Well, by the end of this read, you will be sure to be more knowledgeable on the subject.

What’s The Need to Extinguish Charcoal Grill?

Extinguishing your charcoal grill is of utmost importance. Barbeque parties often have children and youngsters running around, and to steer clear of any flare-ups, it is essential to extinguish your grill.

It is important to remember that charcoal consists of harmful substances, and not extinguishing it in a proper manner can cause unwanted accidents.

Why be prone to such accidents when extinguishing the charcoal is so easy and quick to do? It does not require any special equipment, nor does it need you to be a highly-skilled professional.

All it takes is a little time, which is entirely worth it when it comes to the safety of your near and dear ones.

It is advisable to put your grill back in storage only after it has been completely extinguished so that there are no sudden flare-ups and accidents.

What To Do with Charcoal After Grilling

Cool Your Charcoal

To avoid an accident from taking place, it is best to always take out the extra time and cool down your charcoal and the ash as well. There are multiple ways to do this, but the quickest and easiest method is to suffocate the fire.

You can do this by simply closing the lid of the grill and the vents as well. This process will help the ash cool completely without much effort.

However, if you want a quick fix, you can spray down your grill with water, which will help the charcoal cool down almost immediately. Alternatively, you can also submerge the coal in water for about a minute.

Ensure you don’t allow the coal to sit in the water longer than that. Once you take it out of the water, all you have to do is set it aside to dry.

Give Your Charcoal a Second Life

If you’re looking for options that are light on the pocket, this is just the right one for you. To ensure you get the maximum usage out of the coal the second time, ensure you extinguish the grill well.

This helps you in reducing the amount you waste and will also help you do your part for the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Avoid putting out the hear with water.

Instead, shut the lid of the grill for about 48 hours, thus cutting out all oxygen supply, and you will be good to go. Ensure you store the charcoal in a non-flammable area and away from moisture for better maintenance.

Keep in mind that giving charcoal a second life is only feasible when it was used for a quick grill the first time. If you use the charcoal for a slow cook the first time around, you will, unfortunately, be left with only ashes.

You Can Always Throw It Out

Once you have extinguished and cooled the charcoal after grilling, here’s what you can do if you wish to dispose of it. If you are sure the charcoal is unusable, make sure you throw it out in a residual waste bin.

It is essential to discard it only after it has completely cooled to avoid accidents and unfortunate events. If the bin is far away, it would be best to use something to transport the coal.

It is advisable to use something reusable, so you can take one step ahead and conserve the environment.

Alternatively, if you are placing the coal or ashes in a container to discard, it is better to use a non-recyclable item. This will deter individuals or companies from reusing what you have discarded.

Add Charcoal Ash to Garden As fertilizer

You may be surprised to learn that charcoal is a slow-release fertilizer, and it is highly effective in nature. To get the best results when used as fertilizer, it is essential to use charcoal made from biomass like wood.

This is because charcoal ash of briquettes has unnecessary chemicals that can hinder the health of your soil and plants. To add it as fertilizer, rake the ground carefully, to avoid damaging the roots of your plants.

Once that is done, all you need to do is add a sufficient amount of ash to the soil, and it will be sure to work as fertilizer. The potassium carbonate present in charcoal ash aids in providing nutrients to plants.

It is important to note that this ash can increase the pH levels of your soil. Hence the type of plant you are growing must be kept in mind. Other than that, you will be sure to have a healthy and green backyard in no time.

Use The Leftovers for Pest Control

If you have leftover charcoal or ashes, why discard it when you can use it in an effective manner at home? We have all had issues with pest control in our homes at one point or another.

What if I told you charcoal leftovers could be used as effective deterrents to pests? Surprising, isn’t it? Whether rats, cockroaches, or mice, charcoal is sure to do the trick for you.

Without opting for toxic and dangerous chemicals, you can have a pest-free home in no time. You can sprinkle some in the corner of your kitchen cupboard or at the back of your pantry, and you’re all set.

Apart from using it at home, you can also place them near plants and pots to deter rats from causing a menace.

How To Put Out Charcoal for Reuse

One of the many advantages of using a charcoal grill is that you can reuse charcoal and save your valuable time and money. After you have finished grilling, you may find that there is a good amount of charcoal remaining.

It would be a real shame to disposer perfectly usable charcoal, wouldn’t it? Well, to cut down on the amount of waste produced, you can consider reusing this charcoal.

To do this, all you need to do is have a container of water ready and submerge the charcoal you have set aside after you are done grilling. Before you do this, it is crucial to ensure it is extinguished well.

It would help if you kept each piece of coal submerged in the water for a maximum of a minute. After this, you can remove the pieces of coal from the water and allow them to dry on a non-flammable and safe surface.

Once they have dried, you can store this safely in a fireproof container and remove it the next time you are ready to fire up your grill.

Step by Step Instruction on How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill

Step by Step Instruction on How to Put Out a Charcoal Grill

Step 1: Shut it down

As mentioned above, when you are all set to put out the grill, all you need to do is close the lid of the grill. This will aid in smothering the flames.

In this step, you must also be sure to close ventilation ports, if any, and place them on the grill till it is completely cool. This process will take about 48 hours or so to be completed.

Step 2: Dispose the ashes

Once these 48 hours have been completed, keep a large piece of aluminium foil at hand before you go any further. Now, you can remove the ashes and briquettes of leftover charcoal and dispose them.

You can do this by scooping the ash out with the help of a metal spoon and place it on the foil carefully. If you lay eyes on any briquettes that can still be salvaged, you can keep them asides and reuse them later.

Once you have completed this, you must wrap the foil up and discard it in a metal container. It is essential that you avoid plastic containers, as this could cause them to melt.

Step 3: Clean the grill

Now that most of the remnants have been cleaned from the grill, you can sweep away the tiny particles that remain. All you need is a grill brush and some water, and you are ready to get cleaning.

Take out the grate and scrape it with the brush; you may use water if needed. Make sure you clean around the vents as the build-up can restrict ventilation.

Doing this right away will also help you save time the next time you decide to grill. Sometimes the situation may also require you to use soap and rinse it thoroughly. It is important to let the grill dry well before you put it back to avoid issues that may arise due to moisture.

How Long Does It Take for Charcoal To cool Down?

As I’m sure you have read above, there are multiple ways in which you can cool the charcoal you have used to grill your delicious meal. The way in which you choose to cool it down determines the time the process would typically take.

If you choose the method of shutting the grill with the lid and closing all the vents, the charcoal will take about 48 hours to cool down completely.

This method is one that is most commonly suggested by experts in the field, as it is the safest way forward. Although you can also use water to spray or pour on the coals, this is not necessarily the safest option.

Pouring water on burning hot coal can cause your grill to crack. So, it is best to spend a little extra time ensuring your equipment’s safety and maintenance.


It is true that most people wonder what the next step is when they are done grilling. They often question what to do with the charcoal or ash that remains.

Now that you know all you can do with it and are aware of all your options, you are well-informed to make a good decision. It is important to first decide what you would like to do with the charcoal so that you can take your next step accordingly.

Right from cooling your charcoal, using it as fertilizer, pest control, discarding it, or cleaning your grill, you are now well equipped to do it all.

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