Getting Rid of Sawdust

Farmers and gardeners will take away sawdust and shavings for free. April 30, 2006

What do you do with your sawdust?

Forum Responses
(Dust Collection, Plant Operation and Safety Forum)
From contributor C:
When I worked at a 10 man shop, a local farmer would regularly change out our 55 gallon drums full of sawdust. He took the full drums and replaced them with empties. Since then, Iíve moved up to a 50 man shop, and our very large collector now empties into a hopper that is dumped into a sawdust specific dumpster. The refuse company that manages that dumpster will dump it, within a specific mileage radius, for the same price as taking it to the city dump. Anyone that really wants a shipping container sized load of sawdust is welcomed, and encouraged, to take it. One way, you donít pay for removal. The other way, you were going to pay for it, so it might as well not go into the landfill. Be creative, and it will disappear.

From contributor J:
If it is wood shavings, i.e. jointer/planer/router, as opposed to particleboard dust, you can probably donate it to local animal-related businesses. We have a few riding stables nearby, which love to get sawdust as bedding for the horses.

From contributor D:
For 10 years, a local guy cleaned out our collector and sold the mostly fluffy pine shavings to several horse farms around here, for about $65.00 a stake truckload. He didn't pay us and we didn't pay him. Then in a larger situation with mostly poplar molding shavings, we produced 12 cubic yards a day most days, and we had a guy that would pick it up and sell it to his horse customers - about $125.00 a load. His cocktail hour started pretty early, and some days he wouldn't show, so we'd fill a roll-off dumpster. With walnut, he would clean us out, wait while we ran the walnut, then clean out the walnut and take it to a landfill. This kept the horses healthy. Then a large shredder was installed to handle rippings and end cuts, so the shaving became much more coarse. About half of what was produced could be sold, the rest landfilled. Now we run chiefly mahogany in a small shop, and we produce about 4 yards a week. This we landfill. We have had several horse people want it, but it is extremely dusty, and turns the hooves pink, so the animals don't show well. I take several loads a year, store them outside in the rain for 3 months or so to let the stuff leach out that steals nitrogen from the soil, then use it as mulch. We have Honduras mahogany flower beds as a result. A nice warm red brown color.

From contributor B:
I give my sawdust to a nearby community garden for their compost pile. Only cautions are to keep woods like walnut from the garden because it is poisonous. Same concern as giving it to horse stables.

From contributor L:
If you have a local landscaping company that produces mulch, they may be interested in your dust and shavings. I rent my space from a landscaper and all my wood scraps, shavings and dust will go into his piles, which he triple grinds with the trees he cuts down and sells as prime mulch. I get to get rid of my scrap and he makes money on it, works for me and works for him.