Use of by-products of the wine and spirits industry as disinfectants for Covid-19 pandemic
About this good practice
An important challenge that an industry has to phase the last years is the high cost of the cleaning and the disinfection of their equipment and surfaces so as to protect the employees against Covid-19 and therefore to continue their operation. Agrovision is trying to reduce this high cost applying the principles of circular economy, therefore, to re-use its by-products.
The objectives of this practice are being reached as two potential disinfectants are produced by the wastes and by-products of the wine-industry. Wine industry generates various wastes and by-products such as wine lees, grape pomace and grape seeds. The above maybe further be used for the production of a spirit called tsipouro. During the distillation process, the first litter (termed as "head’’) generated by the traditional copper vessels used for tsipouro production is rejected due to its composition in ethyl acetate and acetaldehyde as well as due to its high content in alcohol (80%, v/v). This rejected quantity is being utilized by Agrovision as disinfectant at the industrial surfaces. Similarly, a second by-product generated during the production of tsipouro, i.e. the filter papers, are also being used for cleaning and disinfecting the industrial surfaces. These filter papers contain alcohol since they come from the filtration of the spirit before the bottling process for the removal of various residues.
At the moment, Agrovision is the sole beneficiary of the practice due to the produced quantity.
The awareness and the co-operation of the employees and the clients was crucial towards the implementation of the trials. Τhe cost that Agrovision spent for the completion of the ‘’good practice’’ presented above (e.g. chemical analyses, labor hours) is not higher than 3000€.
Evidence of success
The possibility to produce means for cleaning and disinfecting by the wastes and by-products of an industry will have as a result the reduction cost of their management by 3% and of the disinfectants purchase by 8%. Agrovision focuses on this logic. To be more specific, Agrovision uses by-products to produce the traditional Greek spirit. The wastes and by-products generated through its production (‘’head’’, filter papers) are being utilized to clean and disinfect the surfaces against Covid-19.
Potential for learning or transfer
Since the spirits’ production is particular widespread in Europe, it would be of high interest this practice being disseminated as one profitable technique of wastes and by-products management against other valueless ones. Moreover, the cost of antiseptics and disinfectants has been increased generally in Europe and not only in Greece. Therefore, the case of Agrovision maybe an example to be followed by other companies and in conclusion to have a triple benefit: (a) reduction of the wastes and by-products management cost, (b) reduction of the cost of antiseptics and disinfectants purchase, (c) production of a new product which is possible to bring new incomes to the company. Moreover, Agrovision intends to participate to calls for proposals (e.g. innovation vouchers) for the further development and promotion of products against Covid-19 through innovative production processes. This method could also be adopted as good strategy in public policies at municipal or regional level.