Week 13 – Warm in Winter

Just in time for the cool southerly blast that is passing over the South Island our much anticipated log burner was installed this week. In fact, the chap doing the installing finished just as rain began to fall and the fire hasn’t had a rest yet! Log burners are a bit of a controversial subject where we live, primarily because of the smog issue Christchurch has to deal which is exacerbated by our geography. Therefore, I mention the burner not to get into that debate, although I should point out that we bought the lowest emission fire available in NZ – the Pyro Classic, but rather to look at the process in terms of avoiding landfill waste.

The Pyro Classic manufacturers made our the task considerably easier by shipping the fire from their site in Havelock North with almost total recyclable packaging. The unit was sitting on a small pellet made from untreated wood. This has found a new life in our woodshed providing a base for firewood to sit on that allows air to circulate through the stack aiding the drying process and thereby further lowering emissions. Only newsprint paper and cardboard was used to wrap the various pieces, no plastic wrapping or styrofoam in sight. The only plastic was two straps used to secure the whole thing to the pellet. We decided to make our own concrete hearth which was then ground down to expose the aggregate. Untreated boxing was used which has since found a home in the garden in raising a bed, it will eventually rot but will take a while and is safe for the soil. A fire surround was created out of baby iron, the offcuts of which can be sent to the scrap metal dealer, as will the piece of roofing iron that was cut out for the flue to go through. This left the only piece of waste I wasn’t sure about; the piece of Gib cut out of the ceiling. However, on contacting the technical support people I was reassured that it is no problem to take the Gib apart, sprinkle the plaster on the garden which is apparently a good fertilizer, and then recycle the paper which is left over. So it took a bit of extra time, but we were able to solve the rubbish problems at all the various stages.

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