Disposing of Wood Poles


When the life of a preserved wood pole is near its end, either because it has become obsolete with new development or because it has fulfilled its life expectancy, it should be disposed of properly.

Recycling is a good use of wood utility poles that have been removed from service. Parks, farms, landscaping and commercial/industrial projects often can utilize recycled wood utility poles for projects that are exposed in the outdoors.

Preserved wood poles should not be burned in open fires or boilers because the preservatives may be in the smoke and ashes. Wood poles may be burned only in commercial or industrial incinerators or boilers in accordance with state and federal regulations.

Poles can be used in an industrial biofuel burner, if it is a permitted facility that can meet state and federal air quality standards. Fiber from used preserved wood poles is considered biomass in several states and may be eligible for renewable energy credits.

As a last resort, you can send wood poles to a landfill. Preserved wood is not considered hazardous waste and can be disposed of normally into an approved landfill.

Review the following for additional information on disposal of preserved wood and poles.


Pole_Insp Wood Pole Purchasing, Inspection and Maintenance
Reprint from the Forest Products Journal reviewing utility practices on purchasing, inspecting and maintaining treated wood poles.
8 pages, 11/02
WDisposal Management of Used Treated Wood - West
Synopsis of state disposal regulations for preserved wood products in the West.
6 pages, 02/10
PoleDisp Utility Solid Waste Guidelines for Treated Wood
Guidelines developed by an electical utilities group for use and management of treated wood waste.
7 pages, 07/02
End-of-Life Preserved Wood Management - A Case for Reuse for Energy
Summary of the energy and greenhouse gas ramifications of end-of-life management options for preserved wood products.
7 pages, 11/10