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Alcohol Fuel Barrel Used for Composting Answered


I wanted to start my own backyard composting and I looked at a instructable on how to build a tumbling composter and I finally secured a 55 gallon barrel that I could potentially. I was told from a co-worker that the contents of the barrel were only alcohol fuel. Will I be able to use this barrel as my compost barrel and be safe from using the compost in my garden, lawn, flower, etc? I did a bit of research and it seems to be safe as some people have used composting to create alcohol fuel with a distillery.

Just want to be absolutely sure and safe before I do anything.

Thank you!




26 days ago

If it still smells like alcohol then let it sit open for a few days after flushing it out.
In case that does not help and the drum looks clean then don't bother!
The smell will go away and only leftover alcohol would be a slight problem for your bacteria.
Nothing harmful, no drama, just just it and enjoy!


Reply 26 days ago

When I first opened it, it reeked something fierce but I let it air out and I actually cut my door opening into already and cleaned it out with the "triple rinse" method. I am just worried about the denatured part where they put additional things to render the alcohol undrinkable. Will any harmful residue, if any, from the alcohol seep into my compost and then transferring said compost to my garden so forth and so on.



Reply 23 days ago

There is two common things to make ethanol undrinkable.
a: Adding methanol - this will wash out with no trace.
b: Smell, taste and vomit agents.
B can be tricky sometimes as the smell can linger in plastic for a long time.
What helps though is UV, just put it in the sun for a while ;)
Either way, unless it was for very special purposes no added ethanol agent will harm your garden or bacteria if you already washed it three times.
I use containers that had AD-Blue (urea) in them, plus coloring and smeel agents.
Did not even bother washing them out, just rinsed the leftovers out and all plants I put in there are still happy :)

Jack A Lopez

25 days ago

There is no such thing as absolute certainty, or absolute safety.

In fact, "if" is the middle part of "life."

Besides, ethanol is mostly harmless, and it is miscible with water. So if you wash the barrel several times, until you cannot even smell the remaining ethanol, then the ethanol that remains is at a very low concentration indeed.

Which reminds me, if it ever comes up that you need to dispose of some water soluble toxic waste, and you don't want to dump it in your own back yard, just put those barrels in the back of your pickup truck, and take barrels and truck both, to the local U-Wash-It car wash. Wash out the barrels there, and whatever is in them, gets dumped down their drain, not yours!

I learned that trick from Russell Bliss. Not directly. I didn't know him, and he was kind of before my time, but I read stories about him. He was one of the best, by that I mean worst, freelance toxic waste dumpers of all time!

He'd do the car wash trick, but with big honking tanker truck, and he'd open a valve, and just let the contents empty into their drain, while he was washing the truck.

In retrospect it is kind of amazing, a lot of the stuff that guy got away with.