Regardless of the situation, it is illegal to burn trash in New York State. This local business owner had to learn the hard way.

What may seem like a law clear as day for most people, isn't the case for everyone. One man from Schenectady County recently paid a heavy fine for both illegally dumping and burning his trash.


Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) Brian Wilson was on patrol in Duanesburg when he saw heavy smoke in the distance. He followed the trail and found it coming from behind a business off of the Western Turnpike.

There were two dumpsters on the property and one of them was on fire, with solid waste burning inside. ECO Wilson told the business owner that what he was doing was illegal and informed him of New York's burning laws.

Credit - NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Credit - NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

The man allegedly didn't know the definition of "solid waste" and told officers they couldn't be on his property without a warrant. According to NYS Law, no warrant is required when a violation is committed in plain view. So that's what ECO Wilson explained to the man.

The business owner was issued two tickets for open the burning and illegal disposal of solid waste. The fine he's facing came out to $3,710.

Big Fire Inferno Flames From Trash Waste

Burning Trash is Illegal

Any burning of solid waste, like trash in a dumpster, is illegal and completely prohibited in New York State. Besides a dumpster, this also includes trash in wood stoves, fireplaces and outdoor fire pits.

There is no case where the burning is allowed, due to the list of problems it causes. These includes human health and inhalation, soil contamination, and discomfort to others being outside on their property. Even if it's on your property, the smell and pollutants will travel far.

In order for trash to completely combust, they need to be put in temperatures hotter than 500°F. Both fire pits and burn barrels will rarely ever have enough heat for the combustion to happen. This leads to harmful soot and smoke.

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