Just because it’s recycled doesn’t mean it’s okay to burn.
People buy firelogs because they are convenient – they provide a fire without the lugging, stacking and fire-building skill needed for firewood. However, there are two very different types of firelogs – wax-based and all-wood firelogs – and it is important to understand the difference.
The common firelog that you find at the supermarket, individually wrapped in coated, colored paper, is made up of a mix of industrial by-products — typically about 60% petroleum or vegetable wax mixed with various industrial by-products plus sawdust or other combustible residual materials such as cardboard, nutshells, spent coffee grounds. Chemicals are added to create colorful effects. The waxed colored-paper wrapping around wax-based firelogs lights the log, which then burns down like a candle.
Many manufacturers of wax-based logs do not identify the specific ingredients in or around their firelogs. The EPA, the American Lung Association and local air quality agencies ask that we avoid burning dubious materials such as colored paper, plastics, rubber, and other trash that gives off harmful chemicals. They also have advised discretion when burning common paraffin-based candles indoors. Paraffin (petroleum wax), a by-product of the oil refining industry, and plastic are derived from non-renewable fossil fuels and release toxic chemical emissions such as benzene and toluene when burned. Since it is often unclear what you’re burning — if the materials in your firelogs are not clearly identified – DON’T BURN THEM!
Why we think all-wood firelogs are best
We prefer “densified” wood firelogs because we know exactly what they’re made of. Goodwood Firelogs consist of 100% clean surplus – not recycled – wood shavings from milling operations. 100% renewable resource materials. This woody biomass is compressed so densely that the wood’s natural lignin actually melts and binds the wood particles together, without the use of petroleum or chemical binders. Due to their lower moisture content and density, wood firelogs burn hotter and cleaner than regular firewood, with 50% fewer emissions and less ash.
Our all-wood firelogs create the ambience of natural wood and, unlike wax-based logs, can be used in all types of fireplaces, woodstoves, chimeneas and firepits. Pound for pound, they also produce more heat than firewood – with a net heating value of 7800 BTUs per pound as compared to 5100 BTUs for typical firewood. Densified bio-fuels such as wood firelogs and wood pellets make going green easier – they utilize wood that would otherwise be landfilled, they produce significantly less woodsmoke emissions, and, unlike fossil-fuel-based products, are carbon-neutral when burned (i.e., the same amount of carbon gets released through burning as through decomposition).