How to Reuse Old Phone Books as Kindling

How to Reuse Old Phone Books as Kindling

Old phone books are a great resource that can be repurposed and reused in many ways around the home. One of the best ways to reuse phone books is to turn them into kindling for starting fires. Using phone books as kindling is an easy, eco-friendly way to get more use out of these bulky books before recycling them.

Gather and Prepare Old Phone Books

The first step is gathering a stockpile of old phone books. Here are some tips:

  • Check with neighbors and family members – Many people are eager to get rid of old phone books cluttering their homes. Ask around to see if anyone has phone books they want to get rid of.

  • Contact local businesses – Hotels, offices, libraries, and other businesses receive large quantities of phone books and may be willing to give them away.

  • Check collection bins – Some neighborhoods have designated collection bins for leaving old phone books to be recycled. Grab a few to reuse first.

Once you’ve gathered a good amount of phone books, you’ll need to prepare them for burning by:

  • Removing covers – Tear off the front and back covers which are often thicker and glossier than the inner pages.

  • Splitting into sections – Divide each phone book into sections about 1-2 inches thick. This makes them easier to handle.

  • Fanning pages – Fan each section so pages are loose and not tightly packed together. This allows more airflow.

Why Phone Books Make Great Kindling

There are several key properties that make old phone books well-suited for creating fire kindling:

  • Thin pages – Phone book pages are very thin, often thinner than newsprint. This allows oxygen to flow through easily.

  • Low density – The paper used in phone books is light and porous. This helps the flames spread quickly.

  • High surface area – When the pages are fanned out, there is lots of surface area for the flames to catch.

  • No inks or coatings – Phone book paper is blank newsprint with no glossy inks or coatings that can inhibit burning.

So phone books are essentially purpose-made to be the perfect fire starters!

Using Phone Book Kindling Effectively

Here are some tips to use phone book sections effectively when starting fires:

  • Use with other tinder – Have some crisped up newspaper or other dry tinder material on hand too. Use a small amount of newspaper topped with some phone book sections.

  • Crumple sections lightly – Crumple each section lightly before placing them on the fire. Avoid compressing them too densely.

  • Stack in crisscross pattern – Stack 2-3 phone book sections on the fire in a crisscross pattern leaving air gaps.

  • Let it catch before adding more – Allow the initial pieces to fully catch fire before adding more phone book pieces to the flame.

  • Have firestarter on hand – Some extra firestarter blocks are handy for getting the phone book pieces lit quickly.

Advantages of Phone Book Kindling

Using old phone books for kindling provides several advantages:

  • Eco-friendly – It reduces waste by diverting phone books from the landfill.

  • Free and accessible – Phone books are easy to acquire for free.

  • Highly effective – The paper catches instantly and burns hot.

  • Lights easily – The thin fanned paper means it ignites with just a spark.

  • Burns long – A few phone book sections provide sustained flames for longer.

So if you want an easy, green kindling solution, look no further than that tired old phone book pile!