Outdoors

Flamestick – the firestarter and cooking fuel made from recycled plastic

Flamestick – the firestarter a...
When used in a stove, a few Flamesticks put out quite a flame
When used in a stove, a few Flamesticks put out quite a flame
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The Flamestick is a recycled thermoplastic firestarter
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The Flamestick is a recycled thermoplastic firestarter
When used in a stove, a few Flamesticks put out quite a flame
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When used in a stove, a few Flamesticks put out quite a flame
Flamesticks will retail in packs of 20
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Flamesticks will retail in packs of 20
A single Flamestick (with a bit of paper stuck to its back)
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A single Flamestick (with a bit of paper stuck to its back)
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Looking not unlike a plastic Popsicle stick, the Flamestick from Germany's AceCamp is a firestarter made from recycled thermoplastic that measures 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) long by 1/4 inch (6.4 mm) wide. While plastic may sound like a strange way to start a fire, the Flamestick offers several advantages over more traditional materials.

The Flamestick's recycled thermoplastic lights quickly and burns hot, providing a capable firestarter for lighting campfires, stoves, etc. According to AceCamp, a single Flamestick burns at up to 626° F (330° C), and a pair of sticks can reach temperatures over 800° F (426° C). With that much heat, and a claimed five minutes of burn time, Flamesticks can double as cooking fuel. AceCamp's managing director Darko Leo told us he's fried an egg in two minutes and 15 seconds using a solid-fuel backpacking stove powered by Flamesticks.

Flamesticks offer several benefits over other firestarters. Their plastic build means that they aren't susceptible to soaking like other tinder is. So you don't need to worry so much about sealing them up in a dry, waterproof container and can count on them even if they've been rained on or dragged through a river. The fact that Flamesticks can double as cooking fuel means that backpackers can use them for both cooking and firestarting purposes, saving space and weight. AceCamp is also quick to tout the eco-friendly aspects of using recycled materials; however, it's easy to find other recycled or re-purposed firestarters – dryer lint, for instance.

Flamesticks will retail in packs of 20
Flamesticks will retail in packs of 20

AceCamp recently introduced the Flamestick to its home market of Germany, where Leo told us the product has gone through testing and has proven safe and non-toxic. The company is also in the process of launching in the U.S. and says it has a U.S. patent pending.

I received a pair of sample Flamesticks and put one to the test. The stick lit quickly and began sizzling within seconds. Thanks to its long, thin design, I was able to comfortably hold it on the opposite end while lighting it and use it like a slow-burning match. Acecamp's claim of "no smell" is exaggerated – while it might not be as pungent as burning a non-treated piece of plastic or rubber, it definitely had a smell. The Flamestick burned for about seven minutes. When it went out, it left a small bit of melted residue. The residue did relight, but I ended up having to hold it over a steady lighter flame with a pair of tongs and relight it several times to get it to burn off completely.

While pricing isn't finalized, Leo estimated that a box of 20 Flamesticks will retail for around US$7.

Source: AceCamp GmbH

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7 comments
Slowburn
Burning plastic. does this mean that there will be less resistance to a waste to energy incinerator in the future?
Matt Rings
We used to make these in the Scouts with a mixture of sawdust and candle wax... waterproof, cheap materials, packs well, and burns hot. Can make them in the cardboard egg containers, and cut them out individually for cooking or fire-starting.
PatrikD
Note that the "made with recycled plastic" claim is purely for marketing purposes. The amount of the world's plastic that will realistically wind up in camping firestarters is so laughably small as to be irrelevant. And using recycled plastics as fuel on a larger scale would actually be really bad for the environment - much better to actually recycle them into new plastic objects, which would otherwise have to be made from petroleum.
Besides, my bet is that the amount of recycled plastic in these flamesticks is actually really small - did they even list the % pre-consumer and post-consumer plastic? It's probably no higher than 5%, otherwise they would have a hard time getting such a clean burn and transparent product. But hey, good enough for a marketing campaign, right?
Justin Bell
Burning plastic, no thanks.
Bill Bennett
Justin, I agree, I would not burning plastic anywhere near food that I am going to eat, let alone not eat sounds toxic, check out instafire (http://www.gizmag.com/insta-fire-tinder-kindling-fuel/21153/) works great, I bought the bucket, fill my own pouches and at home no more hovering at the fireplace adjusting kindling, it just lights and fires off the logs and no I do not work for them.
flame
I must dissapoint you as those flamesticks are made of 100% recycled plastics - a non toxic one referring to their vapours. This is shown also through the different look they have. Sometimes the flamestick's colour is green, sometimes red etc..depending all on the recycled material which brought into the production facilities. Therefore the environmental aspect is much more than a marketing purpose and nota bene even better than any other fuel tablets referring their emission and fuel consumption. The most unique point is also the lightweight which is a useful one when traveling or en route somewhere outside.
James Lin
used it in a 2 nighter trip, 3 boxes flamesstick, it managed to heat all of them water without hassle for my Mountain House dehydrated food. Flamestick really burn