A growing tendency towards online shopping has led to everyone having more packaging material at home than ever before. As a business, we rely on a variety of high-quality packing materials to ship our goods safely around the world. We are mindful of the impact that can have, and this blog will provide some great ideas for how you can reuse and repurpose them.

Read on to get at least 15 great ideas for how to reuse your Charnwood packaging.

Cardboard boxes

One packaging material every household usually has in abundance is cardboard. Whilst recycling is better than nothing, ‘reusing’ is the best solution for your cardboard waste. At present millions of tonnes of usable boxes are being pulped and then made back into cardboard boxes – producing exactly what was started with. This is a huge waste of resources and energy, that is as bad for the pocket as for the environment. Here are some great ideas on how to reuse that cardboard box!

Please note: For the following ideas, it is important to use untreated chemical-free biodegradable cardboard which is what we use for A.J Wells, Vlaze and Charnwood packaging. Also, remove any sticky tape, large staples, and labels that are stuck to the box before using it in the garden.

In the Garden


Cardboard is an ideal source of carbon for composting. Simply shred or tear your cardboard into small pieces so that it will break down more quickly.


Place shredded cardboard around your plants but make sure the cardboard mulch is not in direct contact with the stems. Water the cardboard to speed up the decomposing process.

For those who grow vegetables using the ‘no dig’ method, our large boxes are ideal for mulch beds and don’t even require shredding! Watch ‘No Dig’ guru Charles Dowding to get some further tips.

Controlling Weeds

A couple of layers of cardboard is a useful tool to suppress weeds. Place them at the bottom of a new raised bed to stop weeds growing through to the topsoil.

Protecting Raised Beds

Cardboard can be used to cover and protect raised beds during the winter. It helps by stopping heavy rain from draining valuable nutrients away. The cardboard will slowly decay and help prepare the soil so it’s ready for Spring planting.

Encouraging Worms

Worms love wet cardboard and your garden loves worms! Worms aerate the ground and help with composting and mixing. Use cardboard in a multitude of ways to encourage worms to take residence.

Clearing a Pathway

Cardboard is also effective at clearing ground and can be used to create a natural pathway between vegetable rows. Just place cardboard on the dirt where you want your path and then cover with bark chips.

In the home


Old cardboard is great for creating decorations for any occasion – birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, you name it! A pair of scissors, some paint or felt tips and a good imagination can go a long way. Cutting out people’s names or ages and decorating them for wall hangings is just one lovely idea. Check out YouTube for loads more!

Moving home, stylish storage or shipping

There is a range of creative storage ideas that add a little style and glamour to the humble cardboard box. With just a cheap spool of twine, you can transform a cardboard box into a far more expensive-looking designer option – who doesn’t like a saving?!

Castle for the kids

The most fun option and one to keep the kids happy and take their artistic and architectural skills to a new level – check out this link for some inspiring ideas!

Corn Starch Pellets (PLA)

We use corn-starch PLA pellets inside boxes to provide added protection to our products during transportation. Whilst they do look and function much like polystyrene pellets, they are actually made of a plastic substitute (PLA) and are fully biodegradable and compostable.

Please note that while corn-starch PLA materials are compostable, the correct conditions must exist. Oxygen and light are required, which breaks downs the PLA into carbon dioxide and water within several months.

Shredded Paper & Cardboard

We also use shredded paper and cardboard from our offices to pack some items. Because we use vegetable-based inks they are suitable to be used as fire lighters in your wood-burning stoves.

Wood Pallets


Our wood pallets are made in-house from virgin, kiln-dried, untreated, soft wood which makes them ideal kindling for your woodstove. Just dismantle the pallet and carefully remove any nails before breaking down into kindling.

Here are some other essential wood-burning stove tips.

Compost bin

Compost bins need to have sufficient gaps to aerate organic matter. Wood pallets are an ideal size and with their long gaps between panels create the ideal walls for a compost bin.

Vertical planter

So easy to make and look amazing in the garden! There are few design variations, but you can easily fit plant pots or potting trays in between the slots with minimal effort. Check out the video above for ideas.

Plastic Bags

With plastic bags becoming scarcer and rightly so, when we do get them, it is imperative that we reuse them – particularly when they are sizable. You can use the big plastic bag that comes with some of our products for protecting and storing large items such as a cot mattress or surplus bed linen in the loft.

If you want some great tips for reusing smaller bags then check out this blog on great ways to reuse plastic grocery bags.


We see the packaging we ship our products in as part of our product offering. A high-quality material that with a little effort and imagination can be repurposed and benefit the end-user and environment.

We will continue to look for ways to reduce excess packaging while aiming to use environmentally friendly materials and encouraging reusing where possible. Together with you, we hope to minimise any negative impact that packaging can create on the environment.

To read about our Net Zero 2050 commitments and plan of action as well as our other eco-initiatives click here.


After two years of virtual Dealer Days, it was wonderful that this year we could celebrate our Dealer Event and our 50th birthday in person with so many friendly faces. With delicious food, fantastic entertainment, and the gorgeous Isle of Wight countryside, we shared many good times and highlighted what’s in store for the year ahead.

Read on to learn about 4 exciting new stove releases, our company vision and of course the results of the famous Black Dog Awards!

Introducing the AJ Way


Reaching our 50-year milestone is a chance to reflect on what matters most to us as a company and allows us to focus on our vision and mission for the future.

We have recently introduced the ‘AJ Way’ which is a companywide programme that encompasses our ethos and road map. It seeks to bring everyone in the company together to collaborate and draw on all our expertise to communicate how best to move the business forward in line with our core values. To build relationships, transform lives and create products that delight people.

A.J Wells & Sons have steadily grown from 3 men working from their shed to 180 employees, including 17 family members, on a site spanning 50,000 sq. Ft and servicing a global market. We have a loyal local workforce with decades of expertise and achieving our vision starts by focusing on being a great place to work. A place that is rewarding, inspiring and facilitates the innovation needed to continue creating market-leading products that are sustainable, positive for the environment and delight our customers.

4 New Stoves Released This Year!


We are excited to present the Charnwood Haven, a brand-new compact wood-burning cooker to celebrate our 50 years in business. Based on the dimensions of our Island III, the Charnwood Haven is designed for cabins, bothies, off-grid living and smaller homes. It has the functional charm of a rustic range cooker, but with all our clean burn technology included.

It provides a 6kw output and comes equipped with a well-sized oven and large hot plate enabling you to cook with a wide array of pots, pans, and trivets. The integrated thermometer allows for greater temperature control and cooking accuracy. It’s a surprisingly versatile and delicious way of cooking, allowing you to create soups, stews, roasts, baking and more!

Available in our standard colours and with either high legs or a store stand that will line the Haven up with a standard 900mm worktop.

Available from Autumn 2022


This new release will be the latest addition to the Cranmore collection. Based on the hugely popular Aire 3, this stove is more classic in style yet features a large picture window. With a 3kw output, it is designed to fit into our Stove Pod and makes for a perfect solution for smaller rooms, cabins and the wide range of tiny homes available.

Coming with an integrated ash pan for ease of use and compatible with a cooktop, it is the ideal small fireplace for alternative and versatile living.

Available in our standard colours with a high leg option only.

Available from August 2022


A multi-fuel version of our ever-popular C-Five model. It is fitted with a fixed grate, with the stove burning wood and mineral fuels equally well with high efficiency and low emissions.

Available in all our standard colours.


“Load it, Light it, Leave it”

The Skye E700 is a new intelligent microprocessor-controlled stove that is set to revolutionize the way we burn wood. Load the fire, close the door, set your room temperature using the Charnwood app and let the stove do the rest. It is as simple as that!

With an impressive 7kw output and fitted with intelligent I-blu technology, the Skye E700 is a revolutionary stove that dramatically improves stove efficiency by removing human error. No user intervention is required – apart from simply lighting and reloading.

As thoughtful in style as it is in function, the Skye E700 has a refreshing design aesthetic; classically minimal with a soft modern edge. The Skye E700 is, in our expert opinion, without question the future of wood-burning.

Available in the USA Autumn 2022

Coming to Europe 2023

Overview of Dealer Event & The Black Dog Awards


This year, due to high demand, we decided to split the event over 3 days and set things up a little differently. On Wednesday 11th our first group arrived, and we started the day with a delicious lunch of wood-fired pizza followed by local ice cream. After an introduction in the studio and the unveiling of our exciting new products, we split, with one group touring the factory and enjoying cheese and wine in the VLAZE garden while the other half stayed in the studio where they discovered more about the company’s 50-year history, had a presentation on the ‘AJ Way’ programme and got their hands on the new products. After a break for coffee, the groups then swapped around.

The day ended with a well-earned rest at the hotels followed by a dinner hosted by foodie favourites the Royal Hotel, which is situated in the historic town of Ventnor.

On Thursday, group 1 headed over to the beautiful West Wight where we held several fun activities including clay pigeon shooting, axe throwing, aqua park, dog walking and a tour of Farringford house. As group 2 began to arrive we all came together for the first time and shared a delicious group lunch of gourmet burgers and chips at Tapnell Farm’s Cow CO. Here we held our coveted ‘Black Dog’ award ceremony where we award the Premier Dealers who have shown an exceptional commitment to Charnwood over the last year. Just before we had to say our goodbyes to Group 1, we took the opportunity for a drone shot of everyone to commemorate the momentous occasion.

After lunch, group 2 enjoyed the activities before heading to the hotel to check-in and get ready for dinner.

On Friday, the Charnwood crew reset for another day of product launches and discussions as we prepared to welcome group 2 to the factory. We had a quick morning refreshment, and we went straight into the studio to begin our action-packed morning. We finished at lunch and enjoyed pizza and ice cream before it was time to say our goodbyes.

Congratulations to the following on your Black Dog award: 

Bonk & Co – Golden Gold – The most sales over our 50 year period. 

The ArcadeBest New Product Sales 21/22 

Direct StovesTop Dealer N England 

RW KnightTop Dealer SW England 

StoakeTop Dealer SE England 

Bonk & CoTop Dealer Scotland 

The Arcade Top Dealer Wales 

The Woodburning CentreTop Dealer Ireland 

Woodstoves IrelandTop Dealer Northern Ireland 

The Fireplace EmporiumTop Dealer ROW 

Select Stoves & FireplacesBest Newcomer 

We would like to say thank you to all of you who attended our 2022 Dealer Event and our 50th birthday celebration. It was wonderful to see everyone, and we really hope you enjoyed your time with us. Finally, we want to finish by thanking everyone from suppliers, employees, dealers, customers, collaborators and of course family, who have made the last 50 years so incredibly special. Here’s to another 50!