Thinking Green

Problems with Burning Newspaper Logs in Your Fireplace

By: Danny Lipford

While you might think that rolling up newspapers to burn in your fireplace would be an eco-friendly idea, hand rolled logs are not compressed enough to burn effectively and can actually cause damage to your chimney flue, pose a potential fire hazard, and harm the environment. Rather than burning them, a better alternative is to recycle old newspapers.

Video Transcript

Would you believe that sometimes, thinking green is not such a good idea? Making paper logs for your fireplace is one of those times. In theory, this is pretty green. You take several sheets of newspaper and roll them tight until you have a cylinder about three to four inches in diameter, and you’ve got a log for the fireplace without having to cut down a single tree. Very eco-friendly, right? But here’s the problem. The only way newspaper can burn effectively is to machine-compress it. Otherwise, it burns too hot and fast, and that can damage your flue. Plus, if you’ve ever seen paper burning outside, you know how much ash it throws into the air, and those hot pieces can actually start an unwanted fire by igniting the creosote build-up in your chimney. So before you start thinking you’re doing Mother Nature a favor, think again. The best thing to do with those old newspapers is to recycle, not burn.


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4 Comments on “Problems with Burning Newspaper Logs in Your Fireplace”

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  • Phil Scheel Says:
    December 10th, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Are wet paper logs safe to burn?

  • Joseph Baker Says:
    July 21st, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Best way is to put shredded paper in water to break down for one or two days, then agitate it to loosen up fibers, and put it in a briquette press. Then let dry, whether that is a few days with high pressure press, or two weeks with a manual press. That way you avoid all the issues brought up in the video.

  • Rebecca Hersey Says:
    April 1st, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    We always use wadded up newspapers under log holder in fireplace. No place around here to recycle here.

  • Liam Says:
    November 29th, 2012 at 6:35 am

    I’ve been using both a wet paper log maker and a cylinder type dry paper log maker for many years now and I haven’t even had to clean the chimney..very eco friendly

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Problems with Burning Newspaper Logs in Your Fireplace