One of the main – and perhaps more surprising – materials we use to make our tree shelters is cashew nutshell liquid, or CNSL.
CNSL is a natural, annually renewable, non-food biomaterial. It’s an agricultural by-product of the cashew nut industry defined as waste or processing residue. However, due to its distinct properties, versatility and availability, CNSL is increasingly used in a wide range of industries to replace fossil-based raw materials.
For example, CNSL provides a more environmentally friendly option in industrial and marine coatings, car tyres, brake linings, paints, varnishes, laminates and resins. Research in the United States is trialling new uses for CSNL in medicine. And, we were surprised to learn on our recent visit to our CNSL supplier, Cardolite Corporation, that it’s also replacing palm oil in B7 road diesel. To be fair, we didn’t know there was palm oil in diesel either.
This increase in use is giving cashew nut producers more markets and the opportunity to use the whole nut (after the oil is removed from the shells, they’re made into briquettes for home fuel or sent to power stations as an alternative to coal). And it’s helping to protect the environment by reducing our dependence on fossil-based materials. You can see this in our tree shelters as the CNSL we use helps make sure they are:
- 100% biodegradable
- pH and ecotoxicity neutral
- Durable enough to withstand the extremes of British weather
CNSL helps us realise our ethos to sustain ethical industries through our supply chain.
Finally, if you’re concerned about the availability of CSNL, what with all the new applications, we’re told that only 20% of the available shells are currently being converted into CSNL. In other words, there are no shortages anticipated for the foreseeable future. Great news for UK forestry.