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Fruit & veg wholesaler branches out with HSBC UK funding


AN Inverness fruit and vegetable wholesaler has diversified its business to transform natural waste into an environmentally friendly soil enhancer, thanks to a £150,000 funding package from HSBC UK.

Sky East UK, which predominantly trades bananas, has secured the funding to develop a specialist reactor which will transform organic material, such as food and forestry waste, into biochar – a carbon catching charcoal-like by-product.

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Once the initial reactor is developed, Sky East aims to sell the green waste product to farmers and growers across the world. The by-product, which the company is branding ‘Easychar’, will have wide-ranging applications as a soil enhancer for the agricultural industry.

Sky East also has plans to build further reactors on the sites of waste-generating businesses, such as breweries and distilleries.

The highly specialised but compact reactor also generates heat, meaning that host businesses benefit from a low-cost, sustainable heating source. 

Maxim Balakarev, Co-Founder and Director at Sky East UK, said: “This is an innovative solution and we’re excited about the potential it has. There are over 140 distilleries in Scotland, and if they were all heated sustainably, and transformed their organic waste into carbon-capturing, soil-enhancing products, the benefits could be great. Good soil health is one of the most important things for farmers and growers across the world.”

Tracey Smallwood, Relationship Manager at HSBC UK, added: “Sky East has noticed a gap in the market around the processing and manufacturing of biochar and the team has shown innovation through creating a transformational piece of technology. HSBC UK are proud to support Sky East and look forward to seeing where their green tech will grow. “

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