Paper Mulch as Firewood?

I have been toying with the idea of saving even more money on my heating cost this winter by burning dried up paper mulch as burning fodder.

We have a wood stove which has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s kind of dirty in a house (ash and dust). But it’s direct heat, very warm, you can cook on your stove, and it’s very economical compared to electricity heating.

In our claim to pay less and be more independent, I am constantly looking for deals and/or ways of saving on everything.

Now that summer is on the cusp of leaving (yeah I know you hate me for saying it…I hate me too!) It’s the time of year to start thinking of how to save a few bucks on those cold winter months.

We usually pick up wood here and there or get it from a local at low prices to burn if we need more, or look for people who have fallen trees they need getting rid of. We try to make it last as much as we can with the help of heaters.

Checking on my hydro bill last year, I’ve decided this year that electric heat is just too expensive and I needed a way of getting heat for less money.

Now I apologize for those of you who don’t have wood fire burning heat, because this may not be of great help to you here today, however, you may want to share this with someone who does.

I love YouTube and Mr. Google (as I call him) for information into these matters. You can learn so much. I had gotten a box that could make paper briquettes as they call them. But you wet the paper down and put it in this square box. It would come out so-so and easily come apart since the paper was still all intact and not mulched up. The bricks were also a bit small, but the part I loved is that the junk mailings, old newspapers could be reused to fuel my heat.

I took a minute the other night to watch this video of a fellow Canadian and although it seems a bit complicated (3 buckets and such with the potential of making a real mess), especially if you are doing this inside. It seems the paper mulch balls could possibly be a better option to better heating my home.

Here is the link if interested:

or this one with the same basic principle

It basically amounts to putting paper in a bucket and then letting it soak in water for a 24 hour period. The next day you can mulch it up with a mixer implement you can buy for your drill from any hardware store, or make your own (I don’t know if I want to use an old saw blade, seems the bucket would not last long that way), allowing the paper to return to mulch with the water and allowing it to bond better when it dries into paper logs that can burn for hours. You can do this all for free and if you get into the habit of doing this with all junk mail and old papers, you essentially get to burn your junk mail, old bills (this one I love especially Hydro bills), even leaves on the ground and that will provide your home with hours of free heat. All in all, a win-win situation.

Since all this paper is being thrown out and filling up our landfills (since most people don’t recycle as much as they should), I figure it can be brought back close to its original state and burnt for heat as my ancestors did before me to keep my family warm and at the same price they paid (nothing). It would be better to produce less, however for now; I think this is a solution I am comfortable with.

I do understand that for some, the burning of wood will greatly disturb them since it is burning of our natural resources and causes pollution. Our efficient wood fire burning stove causes less pollution than most cars and the paper was already wasted and 80% of the trees we burn are ones that have fallen on our property or someone else’s or needed to be cut down (hazard, etc). So we try to not take from the Earth but rather take what she gives or what will be wasted.

The one little thing about this is that the logs take a bit of time to dry (about 2 weeks). So make sure you make plenty ahead of time. With a little organization, you will get a free source of heat.

I plan to start mulching this weekend. Since we are not heating right yet. I can’t tell you how efficient or how long these logs will burn for (hopefully a long time), but I will be sure to post it without blowing sun up anyone’s butt.

I love to try new things, and am all for renewing, reusing, recycling what we can. And free is never a bad thing. So regardless of how long they burn, I know they will burn, so I don’t see how this situation as being bad in any case.

Hope your saving journey brings you peace and joy! Since working less to pay for anything is always a good thing in my book!


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