Disposing of hot coals and ash can be a real issue without the right tool.
So what do you do with the ash from your grill? When my fire cools, I dump my ash in a galvanized iron ash pail. You want something with a tight fitting lid to suffocate any live coals.
Wood ash is high pH (highly alkaline), and, in small quantities, can be used as a substitute for lime to correct acidic soil. But the fine particle size can clog pores in soil causing drainage problems. There is a debate over use of charcoal ash, however.
Charcoal has additives that some say may be harmful to the garden, lawn, or compost, but it is not clear to me how much, if any remain after combustion. I have heard that if sent to the landfill it actually helps decomposition of trash. I have also heard that putting it around the edges of gardens and patios will keep grass from encroaching.
Galvanized Charcoal and Ash Can with Lid
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Meathead, BBQ Hall of Famer - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.