Whenever I throw away dryer lint, I always wonder to myself, “is there any way I can be using this instead of throwing it away?”
If you’re like me and you have a compost pile, you might be wondering whether it is compostable. Can it be put to good use instead of throwing it away and letting it accumulate in a landfill?
It Depends on the Composition of Your Lint
Your lint might be compostable, but it depends on its makeup.
Lint is made up of stray fibers from your garments, as well as animal and human hairs and other random bits and pieces of your clothing. Your lint can be compostable if your laundry is made of natural fibers, such as cotton towels or sheets.
Synthetic Fibers Will Not Decompose
Synthetic fiber dryer lint will not decompose and will spread throughout the compost even though it may be difficult to see.
In fact, according to a recent study published in Environmental Science and Technology, washing a single fleece produces 2,000 micro-fibers of micro-plastics. These microscopic particles of polyester and acrylic trash measuring less than one millimeter in diameter account for 65 percent of plastic pollution.
It’s up to you whether or not you want those tiny invisible synthetic fibers in your soil, but keep in mind that they won’t break down into nutrients for your plants.
Don’t Compost If You Use Dyer Sheets
Dryer sheets are made of synthetic materials and are often drenched in fragrances and other chemicals. You don’t want this in your soil.
If you want to use your lint for composting, don’t use dryer sheets. Consider using dryer balls instead. Dryer balls soften garments in the same way that sheets do but are reusable and unscented.
How to Compost Dryer Lint
Set aside a milk jug with the lid cut off or a plastic shopping bag hung on a hook in your laundry room to collect lint. Every time you clean the lint trap, add the handful of lint you find.
Once the container is full, spread the contents over your pile or bin. Wet the lint and mix it in with a rake or shovel.
Brown or Green?
Dryer lint is considered brown material. While dryer lint in compost doesn’t have the same nutritional punch as other components, like vegetable scraps or grass clippings, it still adds carbon and fiber to the mix.
A compost heap must include an even mix of brown and green materials, soil, and moisture to decompose entirely. If your pile is heavy on the green, lint can help balance things out.
If you don’t want to throw out dryer lint and can’t add it to your compost pile, consider using it as a fire starter.
Lint is a highly flammable substance. It can be saved in toilet paper rolls, stored somewhere dry, and used as a fire starter for the campfire in the summer or fall.