Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Monday, 31 October 2011

Free Fuel

Last Christmas I was given a briquette maker - one of those metal contraptions you use to turn waste paper into 'logs' to burn on the fire.

I was mad keen to give it a go but a quick read of the instructions and a bit of common sense told me it was not a job for January. The main thing about making waste paper briquettes is that the paper needs to be soaked before you make them and then they need to be able to dry out. So... a job for the summer, it seemed.

But having sensibly put my briquette maker away until the weather was right, you may have guessed it, I never once thought about making myself some winter fuel this summer. However, on a gloriously sunny day in mid September I remembered my plan and went to survey the pile of newspapers that I'd been donated by my grandmother. It was a big pile. Better late than never, I thought, and set to work making my briquettes. By this time I had of course lost the instructions so a quick search on Google led me to this video from  What was bothering me slightly was that the newspapers I was shredding up could easily have been recycled so other than the benefit of hopefully gaining a little bit of free heat was I really being environmentally friendly turning newspapers into fuel?  As we have two wood-burners and a Rayburn we get through a lot of wood in a year, most of which we manage ourselves from a small woodland.  Chopping wood, where ever it comes from always generates wood chippings and there is lots of waste from the smaller brushwood, and other than a useful mulch for flower beds and around our new trees it pretty much seems like a waste product, so I decided to add a bit to my paper mix to see what happened.

Having set my mixture to soak for a few days I went to inspect and it seemed to be a suitably gooey mess. So I spent a pleasant afternoon in the sunshine making 36 paper and wood-chip briquettes. Are they going to dry I wondered?

I left the soggy creations on a palette in an open barn hoping that if the sunshine didn't last at least the wind might dry them out. Little did I know our Indian Summer would continue.  This morning I went to inspect my briquettes and they were nicely dried out. Here they are stocked in my shed ready for use.  I'll let you know how they burn!

TIP: I think one of these briquette makers makes a great present, but really, why buy one? - just borrow. Anyone who has one will only be using it for a few days a year!

No comments: