Tag Archives: sawdust

In Maine, a Whale of a Compost Pile

[ original source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/20161119/in-maine-whale-of-compost-pile ]

GORHAM, Maine (AP) — Lobster carcasses, dead sea urchins and other “seafood waste” are common ingredients in the compost pile at Benson Farm Earth Products. A 43-foot right whale, not so much.

But the leviathan’s bones were the prize as a team of volunteers from Marine Mammals of Maine arrived at the Gorham farm dug into a smelly, steaming pile of compost, sawdust and whale to extract skeleton pieces including ribs bigger than a person.

The rare and protected whale met its demise after becoming entangled in fishing gear off Boothbay Harbor in September. It was trucked to the farm for composting.

Lynda Doughty, executive director of the nonprofit Marine Mammals of Maine, says she hopes the skeleton can be reassembled as an educational exhibit.


I was relieved about a few things here: first of all, they’re composting a gigantic animal instead of doing something stupid like incinerating it.

That’s cool that they want the skeleton, too- I can only imagine how quickly that carcass will break down!

I composted a friend’s dead turtle not too long ago, and of course he wanted the shell.  I couldn’t believe how quickly the shell was degrading.

If you’ve never composted a carcass, I highly recommend it.  Your pile craves it.  It adds some good variety to the mix, causing a nice thermophilic spike in temperature.  As always, add double the carcass’ amount in shredded browns and it’s a breeze.

Sawdust Dumpstering

sawdust dumpster

About once every six months, I make a trip out to the wood shop dumpster to get sawdust for my compost toilet system.

I checked with the shop in advance to see that they don’t use any treated wood and asked permission to stop by and fill up on sawdust.

Of course it benefits them since I’m lightening their waste load and I get free material to process my cat litter and compost toilet.

Videos coming soon…

Best Source of Carbon for Composting in a City Without Trees & Leaves

I’m very lucky that although I live in an urban area, I have trees that drop tons of leaves right outside my door.

If you’re not this lucky, you may have to go out hunting for leaves…they work better than any other material for balancing out your food scraps in the compost pile.

Plan B involves paper and cardboard- be sure to avoid allowing tape to get in the mix or you’ll be picking it out later.

He mentions pine pellets- I’ve never tried these and I have no clue where a feed store is, but I’m going to look.  I’d suggest finding a wood shop instead and asking for their sawdust.

Piles that are sawdust intensive might not yield the best compost ever, but it will get the job done.

Good luck!

Compost Toilet Dust Suppression Tips

The only unexpected challenge I’ve encountered since I started using a compost toilet is making sawdust not dusty.  Luckily I figured it out pretty quickly, and using a spray bottle is not the easiest way.

I used to sit on the toilet, spraying down my sawdust supply in the bucket in front of me…too much effort!  After spraying the sawdust seemingly forever, I’d still get to back to the dry, dusty mess after just a few scoops.

Now, each week before I bring in my sawdust supply, I use my watering can to soak the bucket of sawdust first.  Works like a charm!

Simple change, major improvement.

FAQ(v): What are the necessary materials for composting livestock mortalities?

FAQ(v): What are the necessary materials for composting livestock mortalities?

In this video, our waste reduction specialist shows us that mixing wood chips works best for degrading animal carcasses.

I’m curious if he’s experimented with shredded leaves and/or sawdust instead, as they compost quicker than wood chips.

Either way, I’m really happy this is being taught instead of simply hauling the carcasses off to an incinerator, which is definitely not the way to go.