Our fuel briquette project aims to offer people an alternative to traditional fuels, such as charcoal and firewood, which are unsustainable and often illegally sourced. Despite its small size, Malawi has one of the highest deforestation rates in the world – and the highest in the SADC region – and so offering an environmentally friendly fuel option, which uses recycled materials, is an important step in working to combat the loss of Malawi’s remaining forests.
Fuel briquettes are made from waste paper, donated from the offices of organisations such as UN Women, as well as Lilongwe Wildlife Centre’s recycling bins. The paper is shredded, mixed into water, and sawdust is added. This turns into a thick mix which is then scooped into cylindrical briquette moulds. Each mould can make three briquettes, with up to 200 briquettes being created every day. After they’ve been pressed down and the water squeezed from them, the briquettes are laid out in the sun for several days to dry.
The production of these briquettes generates income for a group of local widows, who are taught key business skills by making and selling briquettes in the local community. Their use also promotes sustainability and raises awareness of the threats of deforestation. The briquettes sell for MK30 each – cheaper than firewood or charcoal – and don’t produce smoke when burning.
If you would like to start using fuel briquettes from the project, you can purchase them from Lilongwe Wildlife Centre.