How do I dispose of railroad ties?
I received a phone call this week about railroad tie disposal, and with the nice weather encouraging people to get out in their yards and do some cleanup or landscaping, I can’t say I am surprised. According to Waste Age, 13 million ties are in need of disposal every year in America. Over 90% of railroad ties are made of wood and usually treated with preservatives. The most common preservatives are arsenic or creosote, which looks like a black goo.
Due to the wood preservatives, it is not advisable to burn railroad ties yourself. There are, however, other disposal options.
Reuse. Railroad ties can be used in landscaping when they are kept whole.
Check out this article by Jack Stone from ProGarden for a wide variety of other landscaping uses.
If you don’t need any ties for this purpose, consider asking neighbors or posting a listing online.
It is important to note that because of the chemicals used on railroad ties they should not be chipped or burned. Also, they are not best used on soil that comes into direct contact with vegetables you intend to eat. Use untreated wood beams to surround your vegetable garden.
Disposal. If left whole, railroad ties can be treated as garbage and can be thrown away in a sanitary landfill. Check with your municipality to see if they can be picked up on a large pick-up day or if you need to transport them to the landfill yourself.