Green Waste Recycling

Kinneil Recycling Project

With our recycling project we aim to create a circular economy
around the recovery and re-use of organic waste materials (Green Waste).
The project focuses on the production of compost and the development of biochar
– a stable from carbon obtained from ‘baking’ waste wood and other organic biomass
at high temperatures with limited oxygen.


What is it?

Biochar is a stable form of carbon that is obtained from pyrolyzing organic waste (in our case, forestry and wood waste) in an oxygen limited environment which helps to lock up the carbon that the wood has stored.

Over their lifetime, trees do an amazing job of taking in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which is stored in the structure of the wood itself. However, if the tree is chopped down and sent to landfill, or falls naturally and is left to decompose in the forest, then its decay will cause the tree to release all of the carbon it has collected back into the atmosphere.

Currently, deadwood decaying in forests around the globe, contributes a staggering 10.9 Gigatonnes of carbon release each year, which equates to 115% of fossil fuel emissions.

With the rise in tree planting projects to support our national Net Zero Ambitions, there needs to be a comprehensive and long-term plan put in place to deal with the disposal of the wood once the tree has reached the end of its life-cycle.

If we convert it to biochar, then for every tonne of wood we convert, we stop the release of 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide and the carbon itself is locked into a stable form which will resist decay for up to 5000 years.

When this process is conducted at community scale it can provide significant carbon offsets, as processing around 3 tonnes of wood per week would offset approximately 1% of Falkirk Council’s carbon footprint (486 tCO2e per year) which is equivalent to the emissions of driving a petrol car from John O’Groats to Lands’ End 1,463 times! *

*Calculated using calculator (486 tCO2e / 0.332 tCO2e per journey)

Find out more about using biochar, and purchase your own, by visiting our shop using the link below!

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Types of biochar explained…

Biochar has many names and terms, which can get confusing, so we have simplified a few things to help you out. Biochar can either be:
  • Pure Biochar
This is biochar straight from the kiln – No changes or additions, just pure biochar!
  • Charged Biochar
Pure Biochar can be used to soak up water and nutrients, ‘charging’ it with all the helpful resources you need for strong, health plants.
  • Activated Biochar
Pure Biochar, or even sometimes the materials used to make it, can be thermochemically changed allowing us to tailor the structure and characteristics of the biochar produced, ‘activating’ it for a specific intended use.

The Potential Of Biochar

Using biochar in soil is only one of its many potential uses, as its characteristics can be optimised to help tackle a range of social, ecological, and environmental issues.

One problem we are aiming to solve is that of nutrient pollution, where fertilisers applied to agricultural land run off and pollute waterways leading to toxic algae blooms, which are harmful to humans and pets and severely damage the health and ecology of the water body.

With the help of our academic partners – the University of the Highlands and Islands, North Highland College (home to the Environmental Research Institute) – we are optimising our biochar to increase its ability to collect and remove these nutrients, whilst improving the water quality by filtering the algae and reducing particulates in the water.

The additional benefit is that the biochar can be collected and re-circulated, using it as a soil amendment within agriculture, helping to return the nutrients to the soil, restoring soil carbon, as well as increasing the soil fertility, crop yield and water retention. In our case, the biochar will aid our food growing projects, helping to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables we can donate to local services tackling food poverty.

Our research is strengthened by our PhD Studentship with the University of Strathclyde, focused on exploring the circular economy that we are creating around biochar, maximizing the benefits that can be achieved when optimising it for multiple uses and environments.

Through other academic and industrial partnerships, we are also exploring the potential for biochar to be used in several other key areas, such as:

  • Removal of pharmaceuticals and other contaminants from wastewater
  • Composting Accelerant
  • Biochar concrete
  • Gas filtration
  • Use as a delivery mechanism
  • Use as a feed additive for livestock
  • Direct CO2 capture
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Water Quality Testing

Water Quality Testing

Stemming from our biochar research into water improvements, we also offer a range of water quality testing, sampling, and monitoring services helping to accurately analyse the health and ecology of lakes, lochs, canals, and other waterways.

Using lab testing and our state-of-the-art rQPOD Water Quality Monitoring Vessel, we can examine several key water quality parameters, such as:

  • Inflow points and depth
  • Nutrient Levels
  • pH/ORP
  • Turbidity
  • Conductivity/Temperature
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Total Algae

If you are interested in learning more about our water quality testing and improvement services, please contact us!


We also collect the green waste streams available within the Kinneil Estate – such as grass, fallen leaves, vegetation, and our own food growing waste – and turn it into compost. We can then use the compost within our farm and gardens to rejuvenate the raised beds and grow more fresh produce for our food poverty partners.

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Connect With Us

If you’re interested in learning more about our Green Waste Recycling please connect with us.