Is Duraflame a Green Product?

duraflame.gifI don’t have fires very often, living in a warm climate, but I have to admit I’m a sucker for some burning logs on a camping trip or on a cold winter’s night – despite the obvious environmental externalities. For those aesthetic reasons, and for what I thought were environmental ones, I was always opposed to using gimmicky fire-starters and fake “logs” like the Duraflame – assuming that whatever those things were made of couldn’t be natural…
I still think the Duraflame is a bit tacky, but evidently they’re a lot greener than I thought and a lot greener than burning logs (although they used to contain petroleum products). Basically, they are made of discarded agricultural biomass and commercial wood waste (shavings and sawdust) mixed in with a wax that’s also derived from vegetable material. The result is about 50% less carbon monoxide and 40% less particulate matter than burning logs.
Curiously the company’s environmental page does not specifically mention the impact on CO2 emissions and I’m always a little skeptical of ingredients listed as “all natural” without much additional explanation. Nor does it say precisely what’s in that wax, but for the most part I think it’s a pretty innovative idea – one uses almost 100% waste material to do something useful. What do you think?

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has since grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He worked for TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years and has also been an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.