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Where does your BBQ charcoal come from? 

There has been a massive investigation recently into the source of timber for several DIY store chains which has unearthed some very worrying information, that in fact 60-80% of logging from the Amazon rainforest is actually done illegally and that same ‘poached’ wood is finding its way to our shores to make the very garden decking etc that we like to relax on. 

See for more information on the impact this kind of logging is having around the world.

This same issue also applies to charcoal, do you really know where the wood in your BBQ charcoal has come from? Likelihood is that it too has been made from illegally sourced wood from the worlds forests and that by paying for it you are supporting the deforestation of these areas and the terrorists that profit from it. The rate in which the destruction is continuing is by no means sustainable and someday soon there will literally be nothing left – in which case we humans will indeed be in trouble.

See also to read more about how the poaching of wood is funding terrorism.

I’m sure by now everyone already knows that our planets rainforests are in danger, some people frankly don’t care and that’s their choice (the effects will catch up with them in the end), however others do care but are simply not aware of what they can do thousands of miles away to actually help the situation. The good news is that we CAN make a difference, and can even help support our own iconic British woodland - simply by shopping responsibly. The recent victories over unsustainable fishing methods, better animal welfare, and labelling of certain ingredients in foods etc all prove that you as the consumer can demand better quality and get it by just spending your money in the right places!

So how exactly do you know you're spending in the right place? Check the bag of charcoal you are buying for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo to ensure it has been sourced from sustainable forests, or buy traditional British Charcoal to make sure that our own woodland remains economically viable intact. To those of you that *groan* because there's now even more labels to read whilst shopping? Come on now, it’s really not that difficult to scan-read a package and either buy it or put it back!

Traditional woodland in Britain is maintained by regular coppicing which yields both timber and charcoal. The woodland benefits from sunlight reaching the floor to encourage flowers and wildlife, and the best part is the coppiced trees grow back again to provide more in following years so is also a renewable crop. This practice technically makes the charcoal carbon-neutral as the tree has removed the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the first place and will continue to do so long after you’ve enjoyed your BBQ! Above all of this we’ve also found that the British charcoal is of such a high quality, that we don’t even need to use firelighters or fluid to get it started. As to the flavour difference, you’ll have to try it yourself and see what you think...


Check out these suppliers:


Support British charcoal & timber and enjoy your BBQ with a squeaky clean conscience!


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Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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