Composting Sawdust

What should I do with the sawdust from my woodshop?

If you use your woodshop at home fairly often, you know that a lot of sawdust is created. Traditionally, this sawdust has been thrown in the garbage.

Sawdust can actually be quite beneficial to your compost, so don’t waste it by throwing it in the garbage.

Sawdust acts as a ‘brown’ compost material, similar to dry leaves. Sawdust does a great job of adding carbon to your compost. To have an ideal compost you’ll want a fairly even ratio of brown and green materials, or carbon rich and nitrogen rich materials.

Sawdust and wood chips come from trees so they are a natural product that will benefit soil made from compost, however, some types of wood contain poison.

That poisonous wood that you’ll want to avoid is pressure treated wood. If you are working with pressure treated wood, dispose of the sawdust in the garbage and be done with it. Preasure treated woods contain metals that can be harmful to your compost, likewise painted wood is best to be avoided when it comes to composting

Sawdust that is created from cutting natural wood is safe for your compost no matter what kind of tree the wood comes from. Just make sure the wood has not been treated with any chemicals.

Another option with sawdust is to try mixing it in with potting soil. It should help retain water at the start and will eventually decompose.


  1. Rajan Adhikari says

    Can i use saw dust compost for Button mushroom ?
    i am planning to cultivate button mushroom by making the substrate in drum tumbler. is it possible ?


    • James says

      Yes, I own a millwork company that gives away sawdust to locals. We have a few people that use sawdust as a substrate for mushrooms. I’ve heard it works quite well.


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