The event, attended by representatives from local business, community groups and a range of designers from across the UK, precedes the Council’s Design for Planet Festival being held at V&A Dundee on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
Leading the visit was Design Council partner and URGE Collective co-founder Sophie Thomas. Following a group tour of Binn Ecopark’s state-of-the-art recycling and resource management facilities, Ms Thomas led a workshop highlighting how end-of-life waste materials can be reutilised in design projects, promoting greater sustainability and closing the loop of circular processes.
Binn Group is a family run business employing 145 people across its operations in Perthshire. This includes its 200-acre Binn Ecopark, a low-carbon, next-generation resource recovery complex. The circular economy site, focused on waste management, renewable energy and low carbon eco-innovation, processes over 500,000 tonnes of material per year with a recycling rate over 90%. The facility also boasts an anaerobic digestion plant, green-waste composting systems, and four wind turbines which form the core of a new private grid project. This will transform power use at the site, with proposals for a private grid connection to support Perth’s low carbon Smart Energy City objectives and benefit the wider community.
Binn Group CEO Allan Macgregor said: “We’re delighted to host this event with the Design Council where we’ve welcomed both local businesses and representatives from across the UK to the Ecopark.
“As a business which is fully committed to reducing waste and growing the circular economy, we’re really pleased to work in partnership with the Design Council to promote this agenda and explore new means of how we can further develop sustainability-focused innovation.”
Commenting on the visit, Design Council Chief Design Officer Cat Drew said: “It’s been amazing to witness the renewable energy production, waste re-utilisation, and other sustainability-focused activities underway here at Perthshire’s Binn Eco Park. This facility is world-class and provides a great example of innovation within the UK’s circular economy. It also compliments the work we’re doing at the Design Council to promote more sustainable practices across the UK design sector.”
Design Council partner Sophie Thomas said: “It’s essential that we re-utilise more waste materials within design. With an estimated 80% of the environmental impact of a product getting locked in at the concept design stage, we must put a greater focus on sustainability at the early stages. The use of raw materials used in design account for around 45% of the greenhouse gases we need to eliminate, but preventing waste or retaining material value is rarely in a brief. Working alongside waste management partners like Binn Group to repurpose end-of-waste materials will help ensure we start to design back better.”