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Shredded Junk Mail Fire Starter

 
Posts: 31
Location: Appleton, ME
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"The problem is the solution" is my favorite Permaculture saying, and I'm writing to share a recent way I put this into practice. Before the pandemic, I was using newspapers, gleaned from the local transfer station, to ignite kindling in my woodstove. But with the emphasis these days on keeping germs at bay, I stopped bringing home newspaper. In search of an efficient alternative, I began shredding junk mail. Turns out this is a much better fire starter than crumpled newspaper! The key is to shred it. A small handful of shredded mail is all it takes to get things going! Just be sure you're only shredding paper, not plastic inserts or shiny toxic ad flyers.
Junk-mail-fire-starter.jpg
Fire starter
Fire starter
 
pioneer
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I will try this with my rocket stove! Thanks for the idea.
 
pollinator
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Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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If it's going into the landfill, it might as well go into the kindling bin.

If there is a genuine path for recycling into new products (particularly: cardboard, boxboard, office paper) then it should go into the recycling bin.

And then there is weird stuff like thermal printed receipts and other unclassifiable gunk which IMO should go into the "why did you make this in the first place?" bin.
 
pollinator
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Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
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Arlene Marcia wrote:"The problem is the solution" is my favorite Permaculture saying, and I'm writing to share a recent way I put this into practice. Before the pandemic, I was using newspapers, gleaned from the local transfer station, to ignite kindling in my woodstove. But with the emphasis these days on keeping germs at bay, I stopped bringing home newspaper. In search of an efficient alternative, I began shredding junk mail. Turns out this is a much better fire starter than crumpled newspaper! The key is to shred it. A small handful of shredded mail is all it takes to get things going! Just be sure you're only shredding paper, not plastic inserts or shiny toxic ad flyers.



Bleached paper products, when burned, have dioxin left in the ashes. The ashes are toxic to breathe or use in the garden. In Winona County, Minnesota it is illegal to burn junk mail and must be recycled. Please don't use junk mail for firestarting, or office paper either.
 
Arlene Marcia
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Oh no! Really? I hadn't heard this. Is there any paper that would be safe to shred and use this way? How about brown paper bags?

Bleached paper products, when burned, have dioxin left in the ashes. The ashes are toxic to breathe or use in the garden. In Winona County, Minnesota it is illegal to burn junk mail and must be recycled. Please don't use junk mail for firestarting, or office paper either.
 
Arlene Marcia
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T Blankinship wrote:I will try this with my rocket stove! Thanks for the idea.



Hi,

Please see the warning posted by Larisa Walk in this thread. Sorry to say that apparently all bleached paper releases dioxin fumes when burned. So my great idea wasn't so great!
 
Arlene Marcia
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Arlene Marcia wrote:"The problem is the solution" is my favorite Permaculture saying, and I'm writing to share a recent way I put this into practice. Before the pandemic, I was using newspapers, gleaned from the local transfer station, to ignite kindling in my woodstove. But with the emphasis these days on keeping germs at bay, I stopped bringing home newspaper. In search of an efficient alternative, I began shredding junk mail. Turns out this is a much better fire starter than crumpled newspaper! The key is to shred it. A small handful of shredded mail is all it takes to get things going! Just be sure you're only shredding paper, not plastic inserts or shiny toxic ad flyers.



Following up on my original post, I have now stopped using bleached paper as a fire starter (due to concerns re: dioxin), but I stand by my assertion that shredded paper works much better than crumpled up, intact newspaper. So I have started shredding newspaper and brown paper bags at the end of their lifespan. And they work great too! Not as thrilling as finding an exciting use for junk mail, but shredding results in less paper used and quicker fire starts.
 
Not looking good. I think this might be the end. Wait! Is that a tiny ad?
100 ways to cut one's personal carbon footprint - in order of tons of carbon
https://permies.com/t/159647/ways-cut-personal-carbon-footprint
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