I spend alot of money on good food an...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: I spend alot of money on good food and....
Author: Nancy Charlotte (Ilovecompost)
Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - 11:54 am
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I buy sawdust by the pickup load from a horse barn. Most recent cost was $18 and a cubic yard lasts me about 6-8 months. In my bio-region most sawdust is douglas-fir. It smells good.

Author: Ryan Wolframe (Mrvvolf)
Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 5:24 pm
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Every fall, take a few walks and collect everyones lawn clippings, leaves and the like.

Author: Dan Sullivan (Danl)
Thursday, August 28, 2008 - 5:56 pm
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Have you tried peat moss ? I recall that being in the Humanure Handbook. Any farm store or garden supply will carry it and it covers odors well.
This time of year you can get a big price cut on a cubic yard bagged in plastic. Hope this helps.

Author: Burra (Burra)
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 - 2:16 pm
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According to my other half, all pressure-treated wood is automatically treated with insecticides and fungicides, ie the very things that you *want* to decompose the wood. The problem is, we want to rot the stuff down, and the timber yards want the exact opposite. Maybe composting it will help get rid of the nasties, but the nasties are going to make it hard to compost...

My guess is that it would compost, but slowly. In fact I would think that composting it is the best thing to do with it, but if it takes twice as long to rot down, it may not be the best option for home-scale composters.

Author: Demeter (Demeter)
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 - 11:35 am
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Joseph, welcome to the world of "Cookapoo Joy Juice"! :-) (If you understand the pun, you are probably over 55.)

The alternatives to sawdust are listed in the "Tao of Compost" chapter of the Humanure Handbook. I use leaf litter, which works well. Really, just about any fine, absorbent carbon material will work. One option not listed in the book is used coffee grounds. They do need to be dried--at least so they aren't soggy. Some coffee shops will give them away if you ask.
I have constructed a solar "cooker" in which I dry my indoor leaf cover material. It's similar to the "open box cooker" shown here:
http://solarcooking.org/plans/
The drying makes it so you can crumble the leaves really fine.

Author: Alan J Marshall (Ecointerest)
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 - 6:58 am
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Folks, this might be throwing a big rock into the pond, so to speak, but is there any actual documented proof that using any of the "pressure-treated" sawdust has a detrimental effect?
I know that the conventional attitude is "horror of horrors, don't use it!" But I am skeptical.
Some time ago I read of the ability of soil organisms to reduce toxins and render them harmless, even heavy metals.
If anyone has definitive information on this topic, and can give us factual backup, I would be most interested.
My thoughts are that maybe we are ignoring a useful resource here: sawdust from the hardware store.

Author: Burra (Burra)
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 - 2:51 am
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Try a pet store or agricultural merchant - you might be able to get sawdust as bedding material for animals, or maybe try wheat bran/husks. It's usually cheap as animal feed but a bit pricey for humans. Or alfalfa meal? Have a poke around and see what they have. You might have to pay for a big bag of something, but you'll have plenty of time to think of cheaper alternatives while you're using up the first bag.

The saw-mill I use buys in tree-trunks by the lorry-load and sells cut posts. It doesn't have any means of pressure treating so I figure the dust is ok. Have a look at what kind of wood is arriving and what kind of things are shipped out, and you should get some idea of what's going on in the middle.

Author: Joseph Woodbridge (Notig)
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 - 1:27 am
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Each time I use the bathroom I feel like I am flushing gold away! There is so much in the food that does not get digested that could get returned to the soil.. that I feel I am not getting my moneys worth from spending so much on food by just throwing it away.

I want to compost humanure style and I live in a suburban area with a decent yard space for a garden and privacy so no one could ever know but the problem is where to get saw dust? I am kind of in the city I haven't seen any saw mills near me and Google hasn't helped either. If you cannot get saw dust to layer your humanure with carbon then what is another good option? I never saw any alternatives listed when I read the humanure handbook. And how do you know the saw mill you are getting the dust from is not pressure treated dust?

thanks

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