Saw dust

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Just curious…what do you do with yours? I don’t have DC yet, but it is coming in the spring. I spend a lot of time sweeping up the shop and dumping the stuff in a 55 gallon plastic barrel on the shop porch. I have a very large garden, so a lot of mine goes into the compost piles. Still more goes to cover new grass seed that I seem to always be planting in the spring. I can honestly say, I have yet to throw any away. Often, especially in the spring, I don’t have as much as I need.

Where are the band-aids?---Pro Libertate!

My property is really small. I wish I could compost it. Mostly mine goes in the trash. But when I’m running the planer I end up with a lot more so it goes out on yard waste day and the town picks it up. Saves me a bag and it does get composted. Then I end up buying it back in the spring as mulch because the town dumps it at a local mulching place, who then sells it locally. LOL, I pay twice. Once to get rid of it then again to get it back.

Losing fingers since 1969

I am guilty. Mine goes to the trash. I cannot put it in the green recycle bin because the bag is plastic and I can’t find one big enough that can go in the compost.
The garbage truck driver was not crazy about about having just dust.

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

My wife uses some of it to compost, but apparently wood chips/sawdust are a nitrogen sink, which again, apparently is bad for plants…I’ve seen some interesting plans online for a “rocket stove” which burns like a woodstove but uses sawdust, it would be fun to put one together and burn the sawdust.

Rob, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

I vacuum half of it and inhale the rest. Seriously, I did use it with compost some years ago, but I quit with the composting (lazy in my old age) and I use a bio clip mower for the lawn which keeps it fed and green, so I don’t even have grass clippings to compost anymore. I bag up my sawdust and deliver it to the recycling senter where it is composted and then made available to the public for free. Also Manitario is correct about raw sawdust being a nitrogen sink which doesn’t help the plants, but it can help keep the weeds down and also acts as a mulch.

Mike, an American living in Norway

Into the trash… no choice. Small yard and only 1 bag every 2 weeks.
Recycling in my town is not the greatest and taking it to the dump is not feasible.


There is no right or wrong answer and nothing to feel guilty about. If it goes out in the trash, I don’t see a problem with it. After all, it’s just wood, which will decompose very quickly in a landfill. I would rather see bags of sawdust go into a landfill than a truckload of batteries or tons of plastic bottles. I was just curious after realizing how much saw dust my limited activities generate. I suppose if you buy mostly S4S lumber you don’t generate as much as someone who buys rough cut. My planer and jointer are by far the biggest producers.
As for being a Nitrogen sink, that is correct. Never till it directly into the soil. I’m fortunate enough to have 2 acres of grass to cut, and a coop full of chickens. In the spring I also raise meat chickens. That is one animal that poops…a lot! The spring is when I am usually struggling to find enough carbon to keep the compost piles from going N heavy and stinking to high heaven.

Where are the band-aids?---Pro Libertate!

Disposal aside, I’m surprised you don’t have some form of dust collection. It drove me so crazy when I first set up that a shop vac DC was one of my first projects. I’m on my 4th iteration (for various reasons) and I plan to build a final one later – a then baffle to offset a height restriction on my orange cone based cyclone.

Losing fingers since 1969

Mike40….that is hilarious!!! I have often thought that…I went on a tear where I was using MDF a lot!! I am pretty sure I inhaled most of the material needed to make an 8×10 sheet and I wore a mask, used DC, and had air cleaner going!! That stuff is nasty…..

Seriously, I use a lot of walnut and I was told not to use it on plants or anything that would have contact with animals, so even though I do probably more oak, there is still walnut in the bag, so I throw it away.


I am gobsmacked at the amount of dust my tiny amount of work generates. I collect it in bags and once in a while I take it to the tip. This coming spring I am going to make pathways between the raised beds in my lower (veg) garden so I’m stacking the bags up now. I’m hoping that the weeds will die and the veg beds won’t suffer. I also like the rocket stove (I already use wood exclusively to heat my hot water and central heating via a thermal store), but I’ve no place for one in my shop.

-- Alec (Friends call me Wolf, no idea why)

I see how high I can pile it in the back yard. It’s like a monument to woodworking. (I think the squirrels and birds like it, too.)