While reading reviews for various natural chunk charcoal, I saw a lot of complaints about the wasted charcoal dust, so I started thinking, there's gotta be a way to make use of it. I know you can mix charcoal dust with musilage glue to make incense cones, and I figured you could use something as a binder to make a charcoal brick that would be usable for smoking shisha. Starches can be used for binder. Maybe someone knows what the "pros" use in commercial pressed charcoals?
I found this while doing a bit of searching:
You can make banana charcoal. Here you need half (½) bucket of freshly sliced banana peelings, a quarter (1/4) basin of charcoal dust and another quarter (1/4) bucket/basin of fine sand. Thereafter, mix the sliced banana peelings with the charcoal dust, and sand. The banana sap will help to bind them. When still fresh, separate the mixture into smaller desired pieces and then bake them in the sunshine. They are then ready for use. Excess banana charcoal must be stored in a dry place.
You can also make mud charcoal, called briquettes. This is done through combining charcoal dust with mud then compressed into small rectangular blocks. For each amount of charcoal dust, mix with one quarter of mud. Briquettes save on power costs. In Nairobi women use this charcoal for home use and also earn income from sale to others. One 20-litre tin of dust when molded into briquettes is enough for use by an average African family for at least one week.
Charcoal dust is used by a factory in Kenya named “Chardust” to make briquettes that are used in hotels and poultry farms. Their briquettes are also used for grilling, cooking and warming purposes. The dust is brought to the factory which is on the outskirts of Nairobi. Here, 70 employees grind the dust with coffee, rice husks and sawdust into a mix to form the briquettes that burn longer. They are also said to be cleaner than charcoal, are smoke, smell and spark free. This helps conserve the trees.
Charcoal dust has some antiseptic, salt and odor absorbing properties. When sprinkled on freshly cut plants divisions, it can lessen the chance of infection. Whereas some farmers also mix it with soil as a fertilizer especially for vegetable and banana growing, others prefer to mix it with chicken litter and use as a fertilizer on their farms. Charcoal dust is known for its basic carbon component which natural farmers find a good media or substrate for proliferation of beneficial micro organisms in the soil.
Charcoal dust from soft wood can be put on wounds for healing. To use it, sprinkle a thick layer to the wound then tie a linen cloth bandage around. Remove after 1 to 3 days and replace with new dust to for further drying. Its anti corruptive property enables absorption and avoids rotting. It also helps to remove the unpleasant smell of wound. The only disadvantage in use of charcoal dust to heal wounds is that it dirtens the person using it. Also, one has to be careful that the charcoal dust used is not contaminated by harmful bacteria. This therefore calls for its immediate collection after its made and safe keeping.
Also, when applied to the soil, charcoal dust repels ants. Some farmers use charcoal dust to keep the ants, and especially termites away from their mud and stick structures. This is by putting a layer of charcoal dust around the structure.