|This article is about the current version of DF.|
Refuse, though generally garbage, is anything which can be stored in a refuse stockpile (-). Such stockpiles will accept:
- Corpses, bodyparts and bodily remains of any non-sentient creatures, including things like heads, teeth, and feathers (note that the corpses of undead creatures seem to count as non-sapient even if the living versions clearly would be, and they seem to end up in the refuse section of a corpse stockpile instead of a dedicated corpse stockpile. This is presumably a bug).
- By-products of the meat and fishing industries (bones, raw hide, shells)
- Things which are rotten (rotten meat, rotten meals, rotten raw hide)
- Things the dwarves have no further use for (withered plants, damaged furniture, tattered clothes)
- Vermin remains
Note: Storing clothes or armor in a stockpile with the refuse category enabled will cause them to wear out very quickly.
Uses for refuse
Despite the name "refuse", some items can be valuable resources for dwarven industries:
A single bone can be used to make a stack of bone bolts , a bone crossbow, 1-3 bone crafts, or a bone decoration. Multiple bones can be used to make bone armor (no breastplates, mailshirts or boots). A stack of bones may be required for some strange mood creations.
A raw hide from any size of creature can be tanned at a tannery to produce a single unit of leather. Leather can be used to make leather clothes, leather armor, leather crafts, quivers, backpacks, waterskins, shields, and decorations. Leather may be required for some strange mood creations.
Butchering or shearing sheep, llamas or alpacas produces a stack of wool. Each unit of wool can be spun into yarn thread at a farmer's workshop. Yarn thread can then be woven into cloth and used to produce clothes, crafts, and decorations. Woolen cloth may be required for some strange mood creations.
Teeth, ivory, and horn
These items can be processed by a bone carver to produce crafts and decorations.
While sapient corpses are still listed as a subcategory of refuse stockpiles, your dwarves may refuse to place them there - instead preferring to use a corpse stockpile. This does not seem to apply to the formerly-undead, however, which for some reason get placed in the corpse section of a refuse stockpile instead of the dedicated corpse stockpile. This distinction is presumably a bug.
Dwarves that come across the corpse of a sapient creature tend to be horrified unless the dwarf has a high level of discipline, cancelling their job and giving the dwarf bad thoughts, so it's generally best to keep corpse stockpiles out of obvious view. Horrified merchants will also scuttle their wagons, drop their merchandise, and flee Bug:7185, which may be undesirable as there can be diplomatic penalties associated with a merchant losing goods.
Being horrified will also give a small amount of experience towards the discipline skill so it's possible to exploit corpse stockpiles to increase the discipline of your dwarves, though this is generally ill-advised due to the high likelihood of fun.
A refuse stockpile works just like any other stockpile and is different from a garbage dump zone (which accepts items explicitly marked to be dumped). The standard predefined refuse stockpile (designated by -) includes all types of refuse. Customized stockpiles can allow you to sort out the usable "refuse", the rotting refuse, the unusable but not rotting refuse, or even the reanimatable refuse. Disabling certain types of refuse in all refuse stockpiles will cause those items to accumulate wherever they are produced (eg. bones in the butcher shop) instead of tying up stockpile space.
Some types of refuse rot, and rotting refuse produces miasma when in a subterranean tile. To avoid the miasma, you can destroy refuse before it rots, or store rotting refuse in a Light and Above Ground tile (see tile attributes). A refuse pile on the surface works, as does exposing any part of your fortress' Inside Dark Subterranean tiles to sunlight and then covering them with constructed floors or walls. Such tiles will remain Light Above Ground and thus the refuse stored there will not generate any miasma.
Refuse collection options
Refuse items lying outside your fortress will be ignored by default. You can toggle collection of "outside" refuse in the standing orders menu (--). Note that this setting also controls the collection of "dumped" items outside your fortress.