Composting Natural Fibers

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Alexa Alexa
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Composting Natural Fibers

So I just retired my 100% Merino wool sweater after five years of use. It was cream and somehow I managed to get large amounts of red ink all over one shoulder.

I cut out all of the tags and removed and saved the buttons (for donation to our local art "supply" store) and shredded the sweater. Then  I put the shredded bits into the compost. Here's hoping it rots quickly.

Advice, suggestions for composting natural fibers like silk, wool and cotton?
Did I do this right? Or should I pull out the shredded wool bits and put them in the regular trash?

Sandra Sandra
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Re: Composting Natural Fibers

This post was updated on .
In an outdoor aerobic compost bin, the wool will take a year or longer to degrade. I experimented with composting fabric a while back and discovered this the hard way (I had to eventually sift out most of the cloth bits from the compost). With sweaters, you can also unwind the yarn and use it for another purpose (e.g. knit into toys for pets, tie up newspapers/boxes for recycling). Hope this helps.

You can also recycle clothing scraps at participating Goodwill locations (refer to their website for locations).
Alexa Alexa
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Re: Composting Natural Fibers

I put it in my city composting, which is hot composting and eats up most biodegradable plastics. Cotton balls go quickly, as does hair. Here's hoping my shredded sweater does too.
Sandra Sandra
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Re: Composting Natural Fibers

Hmm, seems here (http://sunsetscavenger.com/residentialCompost.htm) that SF's city composting green bin does not accept clothing linens and rags. They recommend recycling unusable clothing. FYI, Patagonia also accepts all of their old clothing for recycling at their stores.
Alexa Alexa
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Re: Composting Natural Fibers

Good to know, I'll see how it's doing in my own bin before it gets mixed in with the city waste. If it's not starting to decompose, I'll pull it out.