Eleven useful ways to recycle sawdust:
1. Mulching out weeds in the backyard.
2. Give it away for pet cages like hamsters and rabbits.
3. Make fire starters (use an old egg carton – the paper kind, fill each section with sawdust, melt wax, pour wax into each section, (be careful with the hot wax),then rip one off when you need it.
4. Soak up dripping fluids and spills in a garage.
5. Put into compost piles. Sawdust balances the green stuff like grass trimmings. You can bag it in 40 gal trash bags and give it to gardeners. (BUT: walnut sawdust can be to your plants because walnuts and other members of the same family (butternut, hickory, etc.) produce a toxin in their leaves, roots and bark that’s designed to kill off other vegetation around them. The toxin is called “juglone” and it’s basically a way for walnuts to ensure they have less competition for light, nutrients, etc. The theory is that if you put fresh walnut shavings in your garden some of the toxin can leach down into your soil and kill your plants. However, not all plants are susceptible to it and theoretically the wood itself does not contain nearly as much of the toxin as the other parts of the tree.)
6. A person with livestock might want to take it off your hands (BUT:The dust from a hobby shop is not the same as shavings from an industrial mill. The hobby shop saw dust is fine enough to harm the animals. Wood shavings are better to use with livestock because they are larger.)
7. Hank Phillips uses oak sawdust in the smoker when he runs out of wood chips. He moistens a few heaping handfuls with some beer, and throws a clump or two in when it needed it.
8. The ‘Furniture Guys’ use wood shavings to rub down furniture when cleaning the finish with Napha. They like it better than steel wool because it removes the finish without scratching the wood underneath.
9. Mark Page: “I have a high composition of clay in the soil here, that’s why it’s Clay county here in Missouri. Sawdust first goes into the flower beds and garden. Any left gets sprinkled into the lawn. Another note that I follow and I guess it is right, is that sawdust takes nitrogen out of the soil to decompose, so you have to supplement with nitrogen fertilizer.”
10. Raku pottery uses sawdust in their process. This includes filling a steel garbage can with sawdust and newspaper. Then you take the pottery out of the kiln and put it into the sawdust while it is still red hot, where it quickly lights a fire. The sawdust creates a unique finish for the pottery.
11. John Bailey: “I save my bandsaw dust to use as epoxy filler. Dust from the random orbital sander is good also.”
and not so good, #12. “A number of years ago I went on a tour of Winnebago Industries in Forest City Iowa (in fact I went a few times while waiting for service on my RV). The tour included the cabinet shops where large amounts of Sawdust was produced most from MDF, particle board or plywood the same material any cabinet shop would produce. Their dust and scrap collection was impressive. Piles upon piles were left outside. It was explained that Pig Farmers would take all they could as Food for their pigs. I questioned the composition of the waste and was told that since the company was formed in the 50s, this was how they disposed of their sawdust.”