Burning garbage, even paper, can release hazardous pollutants like heavy metals and dioxin. Burn barrels smolder at lower temperatures and don’t include pollution control devices. Each burn barrel can release more dioxin than a full-scale municipal incinerator. Reports show that backyard garbage burning is now the largest source of dioxins in the US, larger than all other industrial sources combined. Dioxins get into the food chain and remain in our bodies, where they can cause serious health problems, including cancer.
Burning can be dangerous to property, too. Each year, debris burning causes 40% of the wildfires in Minnesota.
Don’t burn garbage – not even at the cabin or in the campfire!
“Bernie the Burn Barrel” and associated materials were developed by the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District in Duluth, MN with a grant funded by the U.S. EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO).
Contact WLSSD at (218) 722-3336 if you are interested in receiving hard copies of these materials or reprinting these materials for use in your city or jurisdiction.