What’s different about our firelighters?

What’s different about our firelighters?

What’s different about our firelighters? 600 800 Slate Hill Charcoal

Some of you may have noticed by now that we’ve changed, well, pretty much everything about our firelighters. I mean, they’re still made of wood and they still light fires, but apart from that they’re a very different thing. I thought we’d run through some of the reasons why we changed suppliers and it would be great to hear your feedback.

Our old firelighters were made from woodwool, where virgin softwood is shredded into a sort of string before being twisted together and coated in wax. They burnt well, caught fire very quickly and 9 times out of 10 one could light your charcoal in a couple of minutes. What more could you want in a firelighter? Well, there were a few problems with these.

Firstly, the wood they are made from is virgin wood. This means a tree has been grown and harvested specifically for making into a firelighter. Now this is not always a bad thing as woodlands provide a valuable habitat, store carbon in soils and actually have a very short carbon cycle when compared to fossil fuels like gas torch fire starters or petroleum based products (like those smelly white blocks). These are just a few of the literally hundreds of benefits woodlands bring to our planet. Now consider that our new firelighters are made from recycled wood. The UK has an abundance of waste wood that is no longer suitable for its original purpose. Consider pallets for example, they do a really good job for a couple of uses, often more, and then a corner block falls off and they’re shipped off to your friendly neighbourhood landfill site. If we can re-purpose these into a useable product then it has to be a win, and the original tree has been through two, or maybe even twenty uses for finally being consumed in a very small fireball.

Woodwool waste

Another reason we moved away from woodwool is traceability. The woodwool used in our old firelighters could have come from any number of sources, including abroad. You might have noticed we’re pretty keen on sustainable woodland management, and if we’re going to cut a tree down just to make a firelighter then it would be nice to know we’re not offsetting our responsibilities onto some distant shores.

I didn’t know if you ever noticed but woodwool firelighters come in all shapes and sizes. We tried our best to make sure we only sold the best examples, but this leaves us with quite a few…inadequate pieces. Not to mention the waste. It was not unusual to end up with 30kg of waxy woodwool at the bottom of the big box.

Now, our new firelighters. I’ll go through their credentials below:

  • Recycled wood- Valorising a current waste stream and reducing the amount of perfectly good wood that goes to landfill.
  • Uniform size- You always know what you’re getting. 50 firelighters is 50 fifty firelighters, not 40 firelighters and some bits that might resemble a firelighter if you squint a bit.
  • British made by a small company- I can talk to our supplier on the phone after about three rings, and he’s probably standing next to the machine which makes the firelighters. I like this, and it supports British manufacturing.
  • Longer burn time- I have recorded one of these burning for 8 minutes. I think that’s pretty good, and definitely better than the 3 or so minutes you would get from woodwool. Now this might not be a problem with cough really well made British charcoal, but definitely helps if you’re also using these on your woodstove. 

recycled wood firelightersI’m not anti woodwool firelighters, and there are some really good ones out there, but our recycled wood firelighters fit really well with the Slate Hill Charcoal ethos of sustainability, circularity and minimal waste.

Let us know what you think, and if you have any other ideas on how we can improve.

Luke @slatehillcharcoal

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