Trendy 'eco logs' for stoves 'pollute more than traditional firewood'

Trendy ‘eco logs’ for woodburning stoves made from coffee, bamboo or straw actually pollute more than traditional firewood, experts warn

  • Trendy logs can be bought for use in traditional woodburning stoves 
  • They are made from the remnants of the manufacturing process of plant goods  
  • They are labelled as ‘renewable’ as they are made from waste products 
  • But research shows when burnt they breach new regulations on emissions  

Trendy ‘logs’ for woodburning stoves made from coffee, bamboo, wine and other are more polluting than traditional firewood, according to new research.  

New laws banning the burning of coal and wet wood at home are set to come into force on May 1.

But logs which make use of leftover plant waste escaped the ban as they are regarded as a ‘renewable’ fuel.

Trendy ‘logs’ for woodburning stoves made from coffee, bamboo, wine,olives and other are more polluting than traditional firewood, according to new research

The new statutory limit for smoke emissions in solid fuels is 5 grams per hour and a sulphur content of 2 per cent.

But research showed a 100 per cent olive log had a rating of 17.6 grams per hour when burned.

Experts warn that consumers could run the risk of unknowingly breaking the law and being fined up to £1,000 if they burn the fuels while in a Smoke Control Area, even though the logs are legal to sell.

Wood burners are a danger to children and elderly people and should be sold with a health warning, a study finds.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield placed pollution detectors in 19 homes for a month and collected data every few minutes.

Wood burners were lit for four hours at a time and, while operating, the levels of harmful particles was three times greater than when they were unlit. 

These particles have been linked to a number of health issues and can cause damage to the lungs – particularly in young and old people.

The burners were all ‘smoke exempt’, meaning they meet government standards due to be compulsory by 2022.

Commenting on the legislation Tim Minett, CEO of CPL Industries, a maker of smokeless fuel, said: ‘The legislation was designed to improve air quality in England by cutting the PM2.5 (fine particles) and SOx (sulphur oxides) emissions that popular solid fuels used in homes and gardens produce.

‘However, at the 11th hour several fuels were made exempt from the legislation based on their composition and being regarded as renewable, rather than their performance on air quality.’

While HETAS, the industry fuel approver has confirmed that these products will not carry the HETAS stamp of approval, the fuels are not banned and will still be available for consumers to purchase.

Mr Minett added: ‘This legislation has focused too much on the composition of fuels so that they can be labelled as renewables but disregards key issues such as air quality.

‘These fuels are much cheaper to produce and sell, with the reality that consumers will naturally gravitate towards cheaper products but will unknowingly be producing high levels of air pollution. 

‘Not only must the Government take a look at this legislation and the exemptions in place, but it is vital that consumers are better informed about the purchases they are making and the hidden impact.’

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