By Maggie Wehri
Believe it or not, there are many waste materials that can be added to your personal compost. From apple cores to yard clippings, many organic items are beneficial to your heap, offering a great way to further utilize them instead of opting for the trash. Most consumers, however, are unaware of more uncommon items that can be added to mix, such as dryer lint.
While some of us may be skeptical to try composting dryer lint, examine it a little closer. Dryer lint contains carbon and fiber, but only decomposes well with an even mix of both green and brown materials. Brown materials, like dry leaves, wood chips, straw, sawdust, corn stalks and newspaper, are usually abundant in the yard or around the home. On other hand, green materials, including items like food scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds, manure and weeds, which are full of nitrogen, supply your compost with the most amount nutrients. Dryer lint is considered a brown material, as it is a source of carbon that helps add bulk and allows air to flow through the compost.
To get started composting with dryer lint, designate a container in your laundry space for saving lint. Every few dryer loads, clean the lint trap. Unattended lint traps are a potential fire hazard and can become dangerous when left unattended over long periods of time. Disperse of the lint with no more than an inch depth of each layer. Sprinkle some water on top and rake this into the compost. This practice will help you from being overzealous with the portions and will ensure that you maintain a balanced pile.
Adding dryer lint to the compost is a simple enough task, but it should not be overdone in the compost. Having the balance of both green and brown materials with sufficient moisture is crucial to a great composting system. While green materials are the “powerhouses” of the compost, do not forget to add in the brown materials, which add stability in the equation.
Next time you are doing laundry, before tossing out your next bunch of dryer lint, consider adding it to the compost pile out back. Small actions like these can make a big difference in your compost’s stability, but they are also beneficial to reducing consumer waste and promoting a sustainable lifestyle.