Let’s be honest, the words ‘firewood’ and ‘sustainable’ aren’t necessarily two words you’d normally put together, but with the launch of Kindwood the notion of sustainable firewood is becoming a reality. The brainchild of entrepreneur Taylor Gathercole, Kindwood is ripping up the rule book and doing everything it can to get people thinking differently about how they shop, their impact upon the planet and even the role that fire plays in their day to day life and memory making. Here we catch up with Taylor to find out more about what makes ‘firestarter’ tick and what the future holds for Kindwood.
At the tender age of just 21 you’d be extremely wrong to underestimate Taylor. He’s already lived a lifetime of careers and has no fear when it comes to saying ‘no, this isn’t working for me’. A self-confessed ‘schoolaphobe’ Taylor wasn’t one for the education system but his inquisitive nature kept him entertained, working his way through roles within the farming community, teaching himself coding and setting up his own design agency. A natural question asker, it was during his time on the farm when the issue of sustainability first came to the fore; a spark that whilst lit burned quietly in the background until the birth of Kindwood.
Like many businesses, Kindwood was born during a chat with friends, where a few beers may have been enjoyed. Sitting around the firepit in a friend’s garden, Taylor noticed the way that fire had the ability to grab people’s attention, and its endlessly calming effect. Thinking about this more, Taylor starting digging into the role that fire has to play in our lives, starting from as far back as caveman times where fire was the centre of the home, providing heat, light and a beacon leading the way back to the homestead, to how fire now has an intrinsic role to play in much of our memory making – from campfires in the garden during childhood, to candlelight providing the soft backdrop to falling in love, laughter with friends and quiet, peaceful moments.
With fire playing a pivotal role in our lives, Taylor wanted to create a business that built on this concept and celebrated the comfort that comes from sitting around a fire. But this comfort had to be supported by another kind, the kind of comfort that comes from knowing you are doing good for the planet around you, and so began the #ComfortRevolution.
Kind fire, kind planet
A question Taylor admits he gets asked a lot is ‘what does it actually mean to be a sustainable firewood supplier?’. Taylor says the answer isn’t nearly as complicated as people may believe. He said: “Simply put we only use wood sourced from responsibility managed woodlands, and to reduce its carbon footprint further we only source from within an 80-mile radius of our Norfolk-based HQ. Our facilities and processes use only 100% renewable energy, whilst our onsite biogas plant enables us to utilise captured heat waste to dry our logs to less than 20% moisture content – the key to a longer, hotter burn. It doesn’t stop there, we do not use any plastic anywhere within our range or packaging; instead our products are packaged in hessian sacks and ex-fruit and vegetable crates sourced from local farms and orchards. We’re not ‘part-sustainable’, we’re sustainable all the way through, and the best bit is that it’s so easy. The choices we have made for Kindwood were conscious ones, but ones that were actually incredibly easy to implement. For our customers this means that making a more sustainable purchase is incredibly easy – we’ve done all the hard work for them, they simply need to order and then sit back and enjoy the #ComfortRevolution!”
When asked whether there is a need for a sustainable firewood company, Taylor has a rather definitive response: “Currently the world operates a basically crooked system, where 51% of our energy comes from burning fossil fuels; fuels that have been in the ground for billions of years and emit harmful carbon when burnt, contributing huge amounts of pollution which, in turn, accelerates the global warming crisis. Whilst we are led to believe that fossil fuels are convenient, the truth is there are so many sustainable alternatives that are easily accessed and can, quite often, be cheaper in the longer run, too.
“It’s safe to say we’re attempting to mix up the firewood sector and drag it well and truly into the 21st century – something that is long overdue! Goodbye gross green plastic sacks of rotten logs, hello a whole new product category that inspires consumers at the point of purchase and elevates the role of fire into an aspirational part of outdoor (and indoor) living.”
In a nutshell – the Kindwood Difference
- All Kindwood wood is kiln-dried to less than 20% moisture content which means it burns at a high temperature with a long and natural flame
- Every piece of wood is dried using 100% captured waste heat from a biogas plant at Kindwood’s Norfolk-based yard
- The drying process and wood choice also means that Kindwood products are low in tar, so better for your appliance
- Kindwood products are ideal for wood-burning stoves, multi-fuel stoves, pizza ovens or traditional open fires
- Kindwood is big on recycling which is why its products are supplied in rustic ex-fruit/veg crates and hessian sack from local farms and orchards, both of which are perfect for repurposing around the home and garden as storage or decorative accents
- All Kindwood wood is carefully sourced from responsibly managed woodland in the UK within a maximum radius of 80 miles of its HQ