There are many great reasons to buy locally made charcoal. Here are a few:
Fewer charcoal miles
Transporting charcoal creates pollution. The closer to the source of your charcoal that you get, the less pollution is created. Where charcoal is imported from across the world as much of the charcoal used in the UK is, this is a major factor in the sustainability of the charcoal that you use.
No chemical additives
Because of the dense tropical hardwoods used to make a lot of the imported charcoal available, it is very hard to light. The manufacturers get around this by adding accelerants. These are often petroleum based chemicals which help the charcoal to burn. When you light charcoal and it smells like the petrol station you bought it from, this is why. Because British hardwoods are the right density for making into charcoal, British charcoal has no need for these chemicals.
Supports habitat protection
Devon alone has 30,000 miles of hedgerows and the country as a whole has an abundance of small woodlands that require management to remain health habitats for the amazing variety of birds and animals that inhabit them. Charcoal production allows you to use wood down to an inch in diameter. This makes a financial sense of what would be otherwise be waste. This financially supports habitat management projects across that county.
Protects rainforest, mangrove swamps and other endangered habitats
Much of the imported charcoal consumed in the UK is the result of environmentally disastrous practices. Areas of rainforest are cleared with buldozers and burnt in massive piles. Cheap labour (often child labour) is then used to collect the charcoal from the resulting mess. This is a highly inefficient and environmentally disastrous method of be charcoal production. Such practices would not be allowed in the UK.
Supports small business and the rural economy
British charcoal is mainly made by what could only be described as micro enterprises and even the big players in the field are not even on the same scale as the multinationals that provide imported charcoal. These small businesses are much more effective at supporting the local economy, they pay more tax and spend money locally.
Lights quickly and burns hot.
Why wait ages for the barbecue to get to the right temperature? Whereas imported charcoal can take up to 45 mins to get up to temperature, British charcoal can be up to temperature in as little as 10 minutes. There’s no need for fire lighters or chemicals. You can light it just by putting screwed up paper under it and setting light to the paper.
Briquettes, what’s that all about?
Briquettes are a charcoal based product, but they don’t just contain charcoal. They may also contain: woodchip, sawdust, cement, glue, accelerants, coal, starch, lime, borax, sodium nitrate and a whole list of other ingredients. When you are cooking over briquettes you are cooking over the waste from various industries. Not our idea of an appetising barbecue.