I have been reading about dryer lint as an effective kindling material, but I keep having the feeling that in some way it implies burning "plastic": all the artificial materials, coloring (although it might have been well washed out by then), detergents, chemically treated threads etc. Can it be considered as a polluting material, even just in such a small amount? (Wiki points it out as "one of the primary polluters in cave exploration") Can/should this amount of pollution be ignored because of the benefits of this kindling material?

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    The wiki article does not imply that the synthetic component of lint is the problem - just lint in general. I would argue that compared to the total pollution load that a camp fire emits (particulates, carbon monoxide, etc.) the contribution from lint tinder would be insignificant.
    – That Idiot
    Jul 28, 2016 at 12:31
  • It's a good point, burning anything is technically polluting
    – user2766
    Jul 28, 2016 at 12:39
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    As a first step you could minimise the microplastic element by only saving the lint from a load of cottons, having cleaned the filter beforehand. But honestly, when the question includes the words "environmental" and "tumble dryer" the answer is probably "don't use it" even if you're concerned about non-carbon pollution, how is your electricity made?
    – Chris H
    Jul 28, 2016 at 16:34
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    @ChrisH 96% hydro, here :)
    – njzk2
    Jul 28, 2016 at 17:23
  • in fact I don't have a dryer :D
    – Akabelle
    Jul 29, 2016 at 6:29

1 Answer 1


I think that this is one of those things that has to be left to an individual's judgment. Some people would consider just starting the fire to be polluting even if it was done in accordance with Leave no Trace principles.

If this is something that bothers you, why not simply err on the conservative side and either use naturally occurring tinder or choose not to have a campfire?

  • that is exactly what I will do :) I was curious on the general approach
    – Akabelle
    Jul 29, 2016 at 6:29

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