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How to make your own burn barrel for rubbish and paper

Updated February 21, 2017

Paperwork can pile up over time. Old bills, cheques, statements, outdated health records and much more tend to stack up in the filing cabinet or cupboard until there is no more room. But these are not things you want to toss into the regular dustbin. If you don't have access to a shredder or there is just too much to shred, build a burn barrel and dispose of the papers that way. After you are done, you can continue to use it for other things such as rubbish or leaves.

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  1. Obtain a drum barrel. Check with scrap yards, oil companies or buy one new from a manufacturer. Before taking it home, find out what was stored in it. Do not use a barrel that contained chemicals or toxins; a barrel that held oil or some other natural substance is fine.

  2. Drill holes in the bottom of the drum. You need a drill bit that can cut through metal. The holes let air circulate through the drum, providing oxygen to keep the fire going.

  3. Place the drum on concrete paver stepping stones so that it is up off the ground. This lets the air get under the barrel and up through the holes.

  4. Drill a hole in the lid of the barrel that is big enough to insert a saw blade on a jigsaw. Cut the top off of the barrel with a diamond cutting blade.

  5. Tip

    Place wood in the bottom of the barrel to create the fire, and throw rubbish in.


    Check with your local fire brigade before you burn anything in the barrel. Some communities allow burning, but many do not.

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Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Metal drill bits
  • Pavers
  • Hole saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Metal cutting blade
  • Firewood

About the Author

Tara Dooley

Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.

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