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Environmentally Friendly Java Logs

Most people who drink coffee in the morning throw away their used coffee grounds and never think about them again. But now, there's a way to re-use the grounds and maybe even reduce pollution.

A fresh cup of coffee. People throughout the world start their day with it. Much of the time, the used coffee grounds are thrown away and end up in landfills.

But some of these grounds are being recycled as "Java-Logs" -- fire logs made from coffee grounds.

They outperform logs made of compressed sawdust according to Richard Hiraga, the Java-Log representative in San Francisco, California. "It burns as long as a traditional press log. It burns brighter, and it costs about a dollar more than a traditional (press) log," he said.

It also burns cleaner than logs made from compressed sawdust or wood.

Richard says, "It produces 85 percent less carbon monoxide emissions than any other presswood so that's really important and 96 percent less residue that goes into the air."

But some say it's best not to use the fireplace at all, like Terry Lee from an air quality monitoring group who says, "The Java-Logs and other types of manufactured logs probably have less pollution, but they still do pollute and they also have toxic emissions, just like wood, including dioxins."

The makers of the Java-Log say coffee grounds in landfills produce four times the amount of harmful emissions than the Java-Log does when it's burned and that the Java-Log contains no chemicals making it the most environmental-friendly fire log currently available.

The manufacturers say they have considered fuel and heating uses in developing countries but their first goal is to establish a solid market in the U.S. and Canada for the Java-Log.