Case Studies

Sustainable Thinking Scotland CIC

Sustainable Thinking Scotland CIC (STS) is an environmental social enterprise based in the Falkirk area. It delivers projects that encourage local sustainable food production, provides community-scale green waste recycling, and creates learning opportunities for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in the area.

STS was set up in 2016 by Sean Kerr and Stephen McQueen, both life-long Falkirk residents. After working with groups tackling food poverty, they decided to put their efforts into a venture that allows them to give back to the environment, their community and beyond.

Current initiatives include the STS Foodbank Farm Project which grows fresh fruit and vegetables which are then donated to their local food bank, as well as the Kinneil Recycling Project which offers responsible disposal of wood and green wastes, using them to create a range of horticultural and agricultural products which can then be used within the STS Foodbank Farm project.

Sean and Stephen applied to LaunchMe after realising the potential to develop biochar as part of the Kinneil Recycling project. Biochar is a highly porous form of carbon obtained from baking wood within an oxygen-depleted environment and has the unique ability to draw and lock in nutrients and toxins from its environment.

Sean Kerr, Director at STS, said:

Wood sent to landfill will decompose and release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, by converting the wood into biochar, this process results in a stable form of carbon, which when added to the soil, it slows down the release of CO2 into the atmosphere, drastically reducing its impact on the climate.

Biochar can also be used as a soil additive which can help with soil structure, assisting with water retention and filtration, or it can be ‘charged’ with nutrients and added to the soil used in food production increasing crop yield and assisting with disease prevention, so it is a very exciting and versatile material to work with

Sean and Stephen have big ambitions for the product, but getting the biochar to market will require a rigorous process and significant investment.

Steven McQueen added:

We are ecstatic to have been selected onto LaunchMe. The programme will provide much-needed seed funding that will allow us to develop scientifically proven production and application methods, as well as getting ourselves investment-ready.

Successfully gaining private investment would allow us to purchase equipment and hire staff to continue to develop our remediation processes and get our biochar to market. As the only company in Scotland intending to produce biochar, we are in a privileged position to be able to capitalise on the potential of this product