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Firewood Alternatives

Sue-Lynn Carty

There are a number of reasons to use firewood alternatives instead of split logs of wood, but the number one reason is that the alternatives are more eco-friendly.

Alternatives to firewood such as fire bricks made from sawdust or recycled materials often burn cleaner, release less carbon monoxide into the atmosphere and throw off just as much, if not more, heat into your home.

Sawdust Bricks

Manufacturers of sawdust bricks use compressed hardwood sawdust from lumberyards and sawmills. Compressed sawdust burns up to two times longer and cleaner than traditional seasoned firewood logs. What makes sawdust bricks a great alternative to firewood is that they are carbon neutral. What this means is the trees from which these bricks are made absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than the airborne pollutants the sawdust bricks emit while being burned. Sawdust bricks also produce less ash when they burn and emit virtually no creosote. Creosote is a dangerous naturally occurring oil that can build up in the chimney of your fireplace over time. If you don't properly have the creosote cleaned from your chimney, it can start a chimney fire.

Bricks from Recycled Materials

Another type of fire bricks on the market used as an alternative for firewood are those made from recycled materials. Similar to sawdust bricks, these firewood alternatives burn cleaner and are more energy efficient than traditional firewood. They are constructed of wood particles and paper items such as newspaper and cardboard. By recycling things like old newspapers and cardboard for firewood alternatives, it keeps them out of landfills. These products decompose in landfills, emitting methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Fire bricks made of recycled materials are more energy efficient because they have a lower burn rate than traditional firewood, meaning that you get more heat for longer from these fire bricks than from a log of hardwood.

Cost Comparisons

Both sawdust fire bricks and those made from recycled materials burn longer and are far more eco-friendly than traditional firewood. The cost of these firewood alternatives are also comparable to traditional firewood. The cost of one pallet of fire bricks is about the same as you would pay for one cord of seasoned hardwood. As an added bonus, you can store these bricks inside your home without the fear of bringing in bugs and spiders.