Thrifty homeowners and environmental protection advocates alike are searching for more innovative ways to turn used materials into something new. To save money and use less harvested wood, recycle piles of leftover newspapers into paper bricks to burn in a slow-combustion fireplace or wood furnace. Simultaneously lower your impact on the environment and your fuel bill by reusing paper in a fuel form that will burn four per hour in a wood or coal stove.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Paper brick maker
Tear or shred newspaper into strips along the grain. This exposes the paper fibres that help the mixture to bind. Fill a drum with water and one tablespoon bleach. Soak the mixture, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour, although 4 days is optimum. Drain into a large sieve.
Pack the paper mixture into the brick mould. Place the lid on the top, and squeeze into shape by folding the handles over each other. Experiment with amounts of paper to put in the mould, keeping in mind that less paper will result in a loose brick that falls apart more easily. The tighter the newspaper is packed into the brick, the longer it will burn.
Turn the brick maker over and press the brick out from the bottom. As the brick will still be soft, carry it to a shelf on a solid surface like the brick plate. Let the bricks dry completely before burning---up to 2 months depending on your local conditions.
Tips and warnings
- Purchase a paper brick mould, sometimes called "newspaper log maker" from a speciality home store or online.
- More frequent stirring during the soaking stage will quicken the entire process.
- Mix the paper mixture with sawdust or cut grass if desired.
- Do not soak the paper for more than 10 days, as it will begin to grow bacteria.
- The smoke from paper bricks may damage a catalytic stove.
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