Here is a practical example of what I discussed previously – an item that reduces waste, saves money, does not drastically alter lifestyles, and yet works better. Charcoal may be a renewable cooking fuel, but many of us make a pile of briquettes, douse it with a petroleum-based fluid, and set it ablaze. That is the way my grandfather did it, the way my father does it, and the way I did it until about a year ago. I have known what a chimney starter was for a few years, but for some reason I hesitated buying one. Perhaps I was unsure if it would work, or perhaps I felt 15 bucks is too much to pay for a piece of stovepipe with a handle.
What makes a chimney starter so brilliant is its simplicity. Load the thing with charcoal, put 2-3 wads of newspaper in the bottom, light, and wait 20 minutes. The charcoal lights faster, more evenly, and hotter than using lighter fluid. Plus, it saves petroleum and pays for itself after just a few summer nights. And even better – you don’t even have to buy a newspaper! Junk mail or the grocery ads work just as well.
Here is an item that costs less to use and works better, so why would anyone still fool with lighter fluid?