Everyday Income/Earn from Utilities/



The Growing Market For Briquettes Used For Cooking And Heating


I have lived in both a developed country which is Australia and a developing country which is the Philippines. I am fairly familiar with the use of charcoal for cooking in the Philippines. Even in the urbanized parts of the Philippines, there are still people who use charcoal for cooking.

The reason is very obvious why people do so. It is to basically save money. While most people in urban areas now use gas or electric stoves, there are still people who can’t afford these cooking conveniences.

Our household uses a gas stove but on occasions where my mother has to do a lot of cooking like for a feast, she still cooks on a charcoal based stove. This pretty much sums the reasons why charcoal will not be completely obsolete, even in the foreseeable future.

If my mother had used a gas stove to cook for a feast, she would have spent a great deal of money replenishing our gas stove with gas tanks. Compared to charcoal where a single briquette can burn for hours, the choice is pretty much obvious when it comes to savings.


THE NEGATIVES OF BURNING CHARCOAL AND CHARCOAL ITSELF

Despite the great advantage of charcoal when it comes to heating and cooking, there is a distinct reason why it has gone out of fashion as a major source of heating and cooking in many parts of the world, especially the developed countries.

One of its glaring disadvantage is its effect on a person’s health. Anything that is burned produces Carbon Dioxide which is unhealthy when inhaled. This is the reason why there are people who develop lung diseases after prolonged use of charcoal for cooking.

But of course, this can be prevented with a few simple health advises. The first advise is not to use charcoal for heating or cooking in enclosed areas which has the effect of trapping all the carbon dioxide in the air which is then inhaled by the people inside the room.

Besides the smoke being unhealthy for the lungs, the repeated contact between one’s eyes and the charcoal smoke could cause one’s eyes to be irritated. If this becomes severe, it could develop into eye problems.

Another thing to consider is that one can accidentally inhale the microscopic charcoal particles which can float in the air when charcoal is rubbed enough such that it releases these particles. This can be proved when you try to wipe the inside of your nose after burning anything for a long time.


OUR LUNGS HEAL

You may be panicking now and would like to stop all your burning activities like using charcoal and wood for heating or cooking. Don’t panic just yet, there are people who burn charcoal, wood and other things for cooking and heating and are still healthy.

This is because these people have learned how to properly ventilate themselves while using charcoal, wood and other materials for heating and cooking. They also made sure that the air does not get trapped inside their homes and buildings.

For example, there are people who use chimneys that suck out the smoke from their fireplaces. Indian tepees have openings in their ceilings which allow the smoke to rise up and leave their teepees. There are even underground holes that suck out the smoke from structures.

But the human lung itself can heal itself to a point. Provided its cells are not permanently damaged from smoke, it would heal itself in due time. Even medical experts have been informing that if smokers just stopped inhaling the smoke from their cigarettes, it would heal.

I don’t know which is more damaging to health, the tar from cigarettes which damages the lungs or the smoke from other objects like charcoal, but as long as a people stay away from these dangers, their lungs should remain healthy.


THE INDUSTRY

Now that the health issues about inhaling the smoke from burning materials like charcoal and wood have been discussed, let’s discuss the economic aspect of the charcoal industry. Is it the industry decreasing in size or growing in size?

According to the website of Research And Markets and a few other business industry reporting websites, the market is experiencing tremendous growth of at least 8% CAGR. This is their website together with a summary of their report:

Online Article: Global BBQ Charcoal Market Size, Market Share, Application Analysis, Regional Outlook, Growth Trends, Key Players, Competitive Strategies and Forecasts, 2020 To 2028

They are not the only ones reporting this, but a few other industry reporting websites. This figure may sound impressive, but let’s not forget that this is only for the BBQ charcoal market. This figure does not include people who buy from unregistered merchants who sell charcoal.

These merchants are primarily from non-first world countries who sell charcoal to people not only for BBQ, but also for cooking their daily meals. The report does not also consider the fact that besides charcoal, there are also other materials used for burning. This is how huge the market is.


AUSTRALIA’S CHARCOAL BRIQUETTE INDUSTRY

When we buy charcoal in the Philippines for cooking purposes, they come in unlabeled clear plastic containers and you can clearly see that they were made from burned wood branches or some other kind of castoff wood.

In Australia, charcoal come in beautifully labeled thick paper bags. The disparity between the way the two countries package charcoal is pretty obvious and the reason is simple. Australians only tended to use charcoal for heating and BBQing while Filipinos use them for daily cooking.

Therefore, charcoal tends to be a mass produced item in the Philippines as compared to Australia. It seems only logical that the Philippines should have a thriving market for it. According to one website, the country has $47.9 million in wood charcoal exports in 2020.

This is figure is dwarfed by Australia’s coal briquette exports of US$ 51.5 billion of which they only imported US$ 57.8 million. As you can see, Australia can easily import all of the Philippine’s exports and much more.

In fact, Australia has become the number exporter of coal briquettes already. This is very interesting since Australia produces way more coal briquettes than it actually consumes. Could this be because Australia has plenty of sources for coal?


BUT THEY HAVE MORE GROWTH POTENTIAL

As we the previous paragraphs have shown, Australia already has an impressive coal briquette industry, so much so that they have become its number one export country. But it seems there is something more for them.

As of 2021, it has been reported by the National Farmer’s Federation (NFF ) of Australia that as of 2019-2020, their total agricultural exports totaled US$ 59.353 billion, down from US$ 62.208 billion because of the drought.

But you can just imagine the potential of these figures. If just one percent of this amount is used to convert agricultural waste products into heating and cooking briquettes, this would amount to a staggering US$ 593.53 million.

People have been turning cow dung and other animal dung to briquettes. People have been turning the dried parts of plants into briquettes. This means that the bigger is your agricultural base, the bigger is the potential of your briquette business.

The only downside to this is the labor costs in Australia, but this can be solved by using efficient briquette machines or by just exporting the raw materials for the briquettes themselves.


RAW MATERIALS FOR BRIQUETTES

It has already been pointed out that agricultural waste products are used as raw materials to make briquettes. The dried parts of plants are cut down into small pieces and even powdered to make them moldable to be turned to briquettes.

Animal dung is also used to make briquettes. Cow dung briquettes are especially popular in India where the cow is held in high esteem by the Indians. Of course, there is something to be said about using animal dung for heating and cooking purposes.

The first one is obviously the issue of health. Animal dung can contain contaminants which may become health hazards when inhaled or touched by humans. You can for example find articles online stating both the hazards and safety of using cow dung as reported by Indians.

Besides these, another material gaining popularity is sawdust. There are briquette making businesses who collect sawdust and wood castoffs from factories that process wood products and turn them as raw materials for their briquettes.

Another material that can be used is paper. Almost any paper as long as it is relatively clean and does not contain any toxic substances can be turned into a raw material for briquettes. This is not new news, paper afterall comes from wood.


BETTER THAN CHARCOAL

There are parts of the world where the alternatives to charcoal are fast gaining momentum. This is because many know of the unhealthy effects of creating charcoal briquettes and using them for heating and cooking.

I know that wood from the forest or scrap wood is used to make charcoal briquettes. I have seen numerous documentaries of adults and even children exposing themselves to the toxic environment caused by charcoal briquette making.

What if instead of burning wood it is turned into powdered briquettes? This is a safer option for people who are creating briquettes. Another option would be to sell these woods from the forest and the scrap woods as products themselves?

There are people who precisely do this. There are people for example in Etsy and other e-commerce sites who sell parts of dried plants and even scrap woods for use as materials in handicraft and art projects.

Of course, we cannot blame those living in rural areas if they are not aware or really thinking about this option. They may not be informed or not financially capable of implementing such options. This is where government and academic institutions should take the initiative.


MCDONALDS WRAPPERS

I checked online to see how many McDonalds hamburgers are sold each day globally. According to numerous website sources, the common estimate was around 6.48 million on a daily basis.

McDonalds always come wrapped in paper and may even come in a box. Of course, they would also come with a paper napkin with them. And of course, one does not only buy a hamburger, you also tend to buy a soda or some other McDonalds food.

As you can see, just from McDonalds alone, there is already a staggering amount of briquettes that can be made on a daily basis. This has left me wondering what McDonalds do with all the spent food paper packaging it has collected during the entire day.

And of course, there’s KFC, Dunkin Donuts and all the other fast food restaurants throughout the world. But I would like to give special attention to such fast food restaurants as McDonalds, KFC and the likes.

Some of the oil which they used to cook their food eventually ends up in the food packaging and napkins that they use. Couldn’t these cooking oils be helpful in making the briquettes made from these materials more effective? People can financially benefit from this concept.


CONCLUSION

Despite the prevalence of gas and electric stoves in many urban and even rural households, briquettes which are used for heating and cooking are not going away. In fact, the market is showing considerable growth.

A lot of materials can be used as raw materials for making briquettes. People are even combining these materials in their briquette products. With the abundance of waste materials we are unable to recycle due to our limitations, can we make them briquettes instead?




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