Garden & Outdoor

How To Use a Garden Incinerator

how to use a garden incinerator

A garden incinerator bin is an easy way to dispose of organic garden waste, while also saving you from all those trips to the dump. However, it is really important to make sure you understand how to use a garden incinerator safely and correctly.

This handy how-to guide will show you step-by-step how to convert your garden rubbish into a pile of ash with your garden incinerator.

Always make sure you’ve read through your garden incinerator manual before you begin.

Let’s start with what you’ll need.


1. Get set up

If you’ve just brought your garden incinerator home, it will need some basic assembly. Make sure the legs are screwed on firmly and if it comes with an internal flue, fit that before you put anything else inside.

There are a few safety points you need to think about when deciding where your garden incinerator will go.

Choose the location of your incinerator bin carefully:

  • Far from any building or structure – including your house, sheds, and fences
  • Away from any roads – smoke is a driving hazard
  • Positioned on bare ground or stone slabs
  • Completely stable – any wobble and it could fall over whilst in use
  • Away from trees, hedges or anything else in your garden that could be reached by hot embers

2. Remember to keep these safety tips in mind


  • Wear suitable clothing
  • Keep pets and kids well away
  • Consider which way the wind is blowing and how the smoke will affect your neighbours
  • Check your local council policy on garden fires
  • Have your garden materials ready to go and broken up into pieces that will fit comfortably inside the incinerator
  • Keep a bucket of water close by, just in case


  • Use the incinerator bin in very windy or very dry weather – burning embers can be blown long distances and dry conditions increase the risk of accidental fires. Check out our garden storage guide for ways to conceal and store your garden incinerator bin when it’s not in use
  • Leave it unattended whilst it’s lit

3. Lighting your incinerator

Lighting your garden incinerator is easy if you work in layers and ensure all materials are nice and dry.

First, line the bottom of the incinerator bin with scrunched up newspaper – don’t ball it up too tight, you want air to be able to flow through easily.

Follow with a loose layer of dry twigs/grass.

Put some bigger branches on top, though avoid squashing everything down too much.

Light the paper through the holes around the base with a long match or safety lighter.

Add only bone-dry material until the fire is well established.

4. Burning your garden waste

Once you’ve got a good blaze going, you can gradually start to add more garden waste. Though be careful, adding too much at once might smother the fire.

A few burning waste garden tips:

  • Use the lid to keep the garden incinerator hot so it burns efficiently
  • Don’t overfill it, as it could topple over
  • Adding wet material will cause a lot more smoke – don’t breathe it in and consider other people in the area

The dos and don’ts of what to burn:

Do burn:

  • Hedge cuttings
  • Grass cuttings
  • Leaves
  • Twigs and branches

Don’t burn:

  • Wooden objects/furniture (they can be coated in harmful paints/varnishes)

Things you should recycle:

  • Plastic
  • Food waste

5. Emptying the ash

Once the contents are reduced to ash, you can remove the lid and give it a stir to help it cool quicker.

Ash can stay hot in the middle for a long time, so leave it overnight if possible. Don’t be tempted to throw water on it – the resulting sludge will make it harder to clean up!

When it’s completely cool, use an old mug or trowel to lift out the ash and pop it in an airtight bag or container.

If you’re stuck on what to do with garden incinerator ash, mix it with some compost to combat excess acidity in soil and add valuable trace elements.

Now that your garden waste has been disposed of, why not make the most out of your new space with our wide range of garden furniture?

And there you have it, a huge heap of garden rubbish transformed into a manageable pile of easily disposable ash! Now you’re all clued up on how to use a garden incinerator safely and correctly, check out our Ideas & Advice Hub for more tips and tricks on how to transform your garden space.




Writer and expert