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I can’t remember what got me looking it up, but somehow I came across the idea of recycling dryer lint. Now, some of the ideas weren’t so bad. Turning the lint into felted animals for instance, seems like a fairly clever use for something we otherwise throw away. One of the other ideas though, had me tilting my head and wondering about people.
The idea was to take your colorful gobs of old dryer lint and put them in mesh hangers or just in the nearby bushes as nesting material for local wildlife. At first I thought it sounded pretty cool, then that pesky brain of mine kicked in. Unless you’re one of those super Earthy type people, your dryer lint is toxic.
Unless you’re wearing clothing that’s all made from 100% natural materials, your dryer lint will contain particles of all sorts of synthetic materials. Those particles can be toxic. Also, unless you’re using a natural, non-toxic product for cleaning your clothes, that lint is going to have detergent and softener residue in it. Again, toxic substances. we may be okay with exposure to these things, but animals aren’t used to it.
I got this vision of bare, delicate bird and squirrel babies squirming around in these fine bits of toxic debris. They’ll breathe it in, get it in their eyes, and have their sensitive newborn skin rubbing up on it. Their parents will be exposed to it as well, and probably swallowed some of it during transport. That just sounds horrible to me.
I also considered people who make recycled paper at home. I’ve done it myself in the past and never thought of what occurred to me recently. When you use existing paper products to make new paper, all the dyes and chemicals that were in the starter paper end up in the water you use to soak the pulp. People pour that down their drains or often right outside in the yard. When you do that, you’re pouring all those chemicals out and contaminating the ground.
I’m a supporter of a lot of recycling and upcycling, but I think people need to temper their earth-friendly craftiness with common sense to avoid doing things that aren’t actually good for the environment. If you’re going to try to turn one thing into something else, take the time to consider whether or not it might be dangerous to you, the environment or wildlife.