Composting polyurethane sawdust?

dougstove Posted By dougstove, Jul 28, 2012 at 11:43 AM

  1. dougstove

    dougstove
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Aug 7, 2009
    322
    37
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Hi;
    I have 3 garbage bags of polyurethane sawdust (from a floor refinishing; it was old alkyl polyurethane).
    I have a compost heap that could use increased carbon.
    Match made in heaven? Or bad idea?
    I found one reference on line that polyurethane does not biodegrade in compost, but that it does not harm plant germination either.
    cheers, Doug
     
  2. ScotO

    ScotO
    Guest 2.
    NULL
    

    If you plan on using that compost for organic food gardening, I would say NO. I would be concerned that the heat process, along with other factors, could possibly lead those polyurethane components to contaminate your compost. Just because Dr. Joe Schmuckatelli from YadaYada University said in an "independent " study he saw no ill effects of it, I would use your better judgement and keep it away from your compost. Not to mention, if that is an old school urethane, chances are it probably has lead in it. Back in the day, EVERYTHING had lead in it. Check it out on a Google search to verify what all is in it.
     
    Eatonpcat and Lewiston like this.
  3. fishingpol

    fishingpol
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 13, 2010
    2,052
    1,130
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    +1 with Scotty. I was looking at the several cans that I have, and they have the California warnings on them. I would not put it in a compost pile. The older finishes may be worse than what is out now.
     
  4. Lewiston

    Lewiston
    Burning Hunk 2.
    NULL
    

    Jun 17, 2012
    160
    82
    Loc:
    South Central, WI
    +2. The way I look at it is this: any wood/material that I won't burn in our outdoor fire ring due to noxious fumes I won't add to our compost pile.
     
  5. Defiant

    Defiant
    Vermont Castings Geek 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 5, 2007
    2,122
    1,446
    Loc:
    Old Lyme CT
    +3 Don't do it, think about it polyurethane, is not biodegradable.
     
  6. dougstove

    dougstove
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Aug 7, 2009
    322
    37
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Good thinking. I was getting greedy looking at all that powdered cellulose.
     
  7. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Oct 9, 2009
    1,745
    321
    Loc:
    NW Indiana
    There's gotta be another easy source of 'clean' cellulose around. Shred some leaves in the fall, ask for sawdust at a furniture shop, pallete factory, local municipality, landscapers...
     
  8. Lewiston

    Lewiston
    Burning Hunk 2.
    NULL
    

    Jun 17, 2012
    160
    82
    Loc:
    South Central, WI
    If furniture shop, make sure they use different collection bins for sheet materials (plywood, mdf, mdo, etc) or you could end up with the same problem.
     
    ScotO and PapaDave like this.
  9. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 10, 2008
    13,363
    1,662
    Loc:
    Standish, ME

    Almost Defiant, there is in fact a fungus that can exist entirely on polyurethane. People might want to do a bit of Google work.
     
  10. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    May 20, 2008
    6,587
    1,421
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    Look up Paul Stamets work/ books on fungi that will eat anything. Http:/www.fungi.com
     
  11. Defiant

    Defiant
    Vermont Castings Geek 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 5, 2007
    2,122
    1,446
    Loc:
    Old Lyme CT
    A team from Yale University has discovered a fungus deep in the South American rainforest that can live entirely on plastic - offering hope for new methods of waste disposal.

    Thanks Smokey, do you think it will be available in Canada?
     
  12. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    May 20, 2008
    6,587
    1,421
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    That's to say- it could be done,but not in a standard compost pile
     
    Defiant likes this.
  13. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 10, 2008
    13,363
    1,662
    Loc:
    Standish, ME
    There are several fungi that can compost it the one being pointed out is one that can live solely by eating it and can do so either with or without oxygen being present.

    The polyurethane eating can actually be done by several fungi, but it takes longer and has other requirements. In a regular compost pile likely not, but composting can be managed. A bit of research is needed on the part of the composter. I tend to stay away from other than natural plant materials and certain manures. If you can get the piles hot enough you can safely do human waste.
     
  14. dougstove

    dougstove
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Aug 7, 2009
    322
    37
    Loc:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    I did some more googling and before 1978 lead was indeed used as a drying agent in polyurethane finishes.
    Since my old floor might be older than that, composting is a bad idea.

    I do indeed have lots of sources of cellulose, but the finely ground powder tempted me to help get things hot with the huge surface area. But off to the garbage it goes, where the pros can handle it.
     

Share This Page