Will woodchips work?

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure: Will woodchips work?
Author: Joe (Joe)
Wednesday, June 01, 2011 - 6:25 pm
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Ash is not carbon based so don't use it in your compost. Pine needles will work.

Author: Retsyboss (Retsyboss)
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 - 5:27 pm
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Suggestions for alternatives to sawdust?
I have LOTS of these: pine needles - dried and fresh, fireplace ash (pine), shredded office paper.
Thanks for any help.

Author: Amy-Sunshine
Sunday, June 02, 2002 - 3:39 pm
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Okay, I think I'm finally ready to try this...

Will aged wood chips work instead of sawdust? They are mostly pine chips, aged for two years outside, uncovered. Will this control the odors, and break down in a reasonable amount of time? If not, I welcome suggestions for a cover material that I can use immediately. I'd like to avoid peat moss, due to it's non-renewability.

Thanks in Advance,
Amy S. Finlay

Author: Joe
Sunday, June 02, 2002 - 7:34 pm
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Wood chips are not likely to work - they break down too slowly. Can you get your hands on raw sawdust?

Author: Amy-Sunshine
Monday, June 03, 2002 - 12:51 am
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Thanks for the quick response, Joe!
Yes, there are a few lumber mills around here. I'll try it, thanks!

Author: e0richt
Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 5:05 pm
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Joe,

Can I use leaves for the toilet AND the compost or do I have to use 2 different materials??

Author: DaronPage
Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 1:55 pm
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I use leaves in the toilet and old hay dried grass or sometimes leaves in the compost pile. I have only been doing this about a year and my pile does not seem to be heating up like it should, although I haven?t checked with a thermometer.

Author: joe jenkins
Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 8:24 am
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You can use leaves in both places.

Author: eager beaver
Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - 1:09 pm
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Can you use mulch (the brown stuff not the redwood) for toilet/compost pile??

Author: joe
Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 12:10 pm
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It's a bit coarse and takes a while to break down. Better if you can leave it outside and let it break down in advance for a couple years, then use it.

Author: John Zamick
Monday, March 07, 2005 - 10:34 am
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Hi there

Any suggestions very much appreciated.

I am trying to develop a solution that is not reliant on me obtaining sawdust from a mill (may not be available where I am going in France). I do have access to tens of acres of woodland and could easily buy a chipper but I am not aware of any 'sawdust' machines per se (any pointers welcome if you know of one). I wonder how small a chip size one would have to produce for it to work for composting - could not one make the chips small enough to be the functional equivalent of sawdust (seems reasonable to my naive mind)?

Author: Jeff Holiman
Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 1:07 am
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Does anyone know if it is OK to use shredded waste pastboard (i.e. cereal box material) to mix in with the sawdust. I have been adding the toilet paper rolls, b/c they have no color, but I was wondering if the coloring would have toxic particles?

Author: Stephen
Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 9:45 am
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John, a wood planer is a pretty good sawdust machine and probably cheaper than a wood chipper.
Try to find a busy woodworker willing to donate and you will have more than enough sawdust for a moderate sized family.

Author: S. Infante
Wednesday, March 09, 2005 - 8:27 am
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John,
The leaves alone from the trees in woodland would work. I am currently using the mulched leaves of 6 cottonwood trees, I started in December and have had great success with the mulched leaves.

Author: John Zamick
Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 5:47 am
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Thanks very much for the suggestions. The idea to use the leaves is so obvious I am embarrased for not thinking of it myself....sometimes though you just dont see the wood for the trees :) Sorry for the awful pun.

A quick question - what does one have to do to mulch the leaves in preparation for usage in the compost heap (yes I really do know nothing - benefit of a college education)?

Author: S. Infante
Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 8:09 am
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I ran my leaves through a shredder and just piled them inside a big empty compost bin. If you have the time to pre-pile them up and let them sit for about a year then they decompose enough you do not have to mulch or chip them. I had my boys and some neighbor boys pre-crunch them for me by spending the day doing acrobats in the huge pile of leaves.

Author: John Zamick
Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 12:41 pm
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Thanks again S. for the help. How big a compost bin did you use and how many people did it serve (more dumb ass questions sorry)? With a year to wait before the 'mulch' is ready, I want to make enough but dont want to waste alot of time and effort building a stock that is much bigger than I need. My requirements are full time use for a family of four (two adults, two children). TIA.

Author: S. Infante
Thursday, March 10, 2005 - 9:35 pm
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I have a 5 x 5 x 4 bin that was filled originally with shreaded leaves. I shreaded them first because I did not have a source for sawdust and did not want to wait a year before I could use them. I am the only full time person using the "waterless toilet" in my house. My two boys uses it when they remember and my husband will NOT use it, so...Since December 20th or so, I have used about 5 x 5 x 1 feet of shreaded leaves, but not all of it for the toilet, some of it I have used for mulch in garden beds. What you may want to do is to take some cheap hog fence or somthing like that and make a big maybe 7-10 foot diameter circle 4-5 feet high and just pile up leaves in that and leave them for a year, to use next year but in the mean time, fill up another bin about the size I used with shreaded leaves to use now, then every year you can refill the fenced area and leave them to mould for the following year and then put them in the bin you had made to hold the shreaded leaves. I hope this makes sense.

Author: John Zamick
Friday, March 11, 2005 - 4:14 am
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Thanks to all for their help. Very much appreciated.

Author: dagwood
Monday, March 14, 2005 - 10:39 am
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i use the bagger on my lawn mower, a couple passes thru the woods will yeld, plenty mulched leaves

Author: TCLynx
Saturday, December 31, 2005 - 3:39 pm
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The aged leaves (leaf mold) my be best for cover because they are already starting to compost but I wouldn't wait a year if you have plain old leaves around you can use. Perhaps if you see neighbors putting bags of leaves out to be picked up you could get those to stockpile and age for a year while using your own now. Mulch really just means crunched up which you can do by hand as you put them in the bucket though a lawn mower or lawn vac my be quicker.

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