I find that the thing I make most in my shop is sawdust, I'm quite skilled at it. Much of my scraps and dust end up on a garbage truck and I am looking for a more earth friendly way to deal with it. I have tried composting the sawdust to use in gardens but it is very slow to decay and I am not certain how good it is as a fertilizer and soil enhancement. What alternatives are available to sending the stuff to a landfill?

  • Compostig works best woth a mixture of browns and greens; I am guessing that mixing your sawdust well with lawn clippings would work pretty well. Keeping it areated also makes a big difference.
    – keshlam
    Feb 24 '16 at 13:21
  • 1
    @keshlam Don't forget to piss in the compost as well
    – Matt
    Feb 24 '16 at 14:10
  • Just don't try to compost meats, fats, oils, or carnivore droppings. (Not sure about herbivore). But that's a topic for anopther area.
    – keshlam
    Feb 24 '16 at 14:50
  • the thing I make most in my shop is sawdust I believe this is the universal wood worker's lament.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 24 '16 at 19:30

Bio fuel briquettes / fire logs for campfire / woodstove would be a simple suggestion outside of compost. When it comes to compost you cannot use too much and also heed my warning below.

The gist of the solutions our there are to take sawdust and wood pulp mixing it with water and compressing it as much as possible. Small containers work best where you can have some holes to let the water out.

Best approach would involve some sort of press but I have seen success just using large amounts of weight. Either way try and get as much of the water out of the pulp as you can. Once that is done leave it to dry. Milage will vary with local but they would need to dry several days at least. Once dry then you have some simple fire logs.

One such example of this process can be found on instructables.com. Another from Ana White using paraffin wax and hand mixing. I have heard of more success with water and compression. Here is a video showing a paper/sawdust mixture and using a perforated sewer pipe and a bottle jack jig to force the water out. You can find oodles of variations of this so you should be able to find a combinations of tools and techniques that can suit your needs. There are commercial options as far as pressed go that are designed for this as well.

Be warned though!

Not all sawdust should be burned or used for anything other than landfill. Be aware of your woods and things that have glues and adhesives should not be burned. Other things like treated wood should be avoided as well. Some woods are known irritants and allergens. This cannot be stressed enough so you just need to be careful.

A related question on this subject: How should I dispose of sawdust safely?


I have used sawdust as filler in my yard to curtail erosion. Especially where I sometimes parked my truck and left ruts in the rain.


There are plenty of other uses, though most need some extra work.

If the saw dust doesn't have treated wood in it then it can be used as mulch, some plants like raspberry beds love saw dust. My wife also used it as mulch around her flower beds.

My dad's neighbor uses it for animal bedding. Horses and chickens. Chickens seem to be a big one and growing.

There also pellet makers for pellet stoves, though I would do plenty of research before buying one of these. You might find someone who already has one and partner with them. pellet stove pellet maker


I found a link with a multitude of possibilities. OK 28. The break down into categories of burning them, using them for gardening, craft applications, animal bedding, absorption uses, wood filler, even cooking. One option I had not thought of was to list it on craigslist and see who is interested. One result for listing it was a mushroom farmer who loved the stuff. Only a few uses would consume the amount of sawdust I can generate when I'm cooking.

It appears that treated wood, some exotics and black walnut dust should be kept separate from agricultural and animal applications. I found information that that black walnut trees secrete a poison called juglone as a natural defense to prevent other trees from growing in their proximity, so it should definitely be kept separate.



I keep a plastic bag filled with sawdust to use as wood filler. Mixing it with a little glue can provide a nice material to fill small cracks or defects.

  • So do I, but only the finest particles. The stuff coming out of my dust collector could fill an awful big gap in a piece of wood!
    – Ashlar
    Feb 24 '16 at 16:18

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