In the industry, there are many times when we don't know how to properly handle the waste we generate. In Casa Sauza we have a waste-control and a continuous improvement system in our waste management, trying to generate the minimum environmental impact we can. Learn some options we have implemented in the tequila industry.
To counteract the contaminating effects of the waste/residues, talking about wastewater, there are plenty of treatments in the market, from which some of them have been adapted from other industries concerned with beverages and some others have been born from specific investigations in the Tequila Industry. Most of these water-treatments have high costs, but there are some of them which are not that expensive.
In the case of agave fiber or bagasse, the solutions and technology needed to treat its waste are simpler and relatively cheap, when comparing them to the wastewater treatment. In response to this, the industries concerned with beverages may choose among different options according to their production cycles, their budget, and their environmental policies.
Options for Waste Treatment in the Tequila Industry
Some options available for waste treatment utilized in the Tequila Industry are:
Vinasse Waste Management
When talking about vinasse, the most economical option (but not the most sustainable on a long-term basis) is using them for crops irrigation, because it can only help to solve the waste problem in small or micro-producers.
What we can do in this case, due to our high volume of vinasse waste, is to previously apply an stabilization treatment to the vinasses, reducing its temperature until they reach the room temperature (typically between 25° and 30° C), raising its pH until it gets as close as possible to neutral (7).
Another alternative we have decided upon is the utilization of sprinklers for liquid fraction evaporation, a process that functions at a high pressure, sending the vinasse-jet on an ascendant direction inside an artificial vinasse container. The vinasse flow its sprayed in small particles so that when it has a contact with air, a water portion gets evaporated, separating from the rest of the vinasse-jet that keeps going down to the beginning of the process. The goal of this alternative is that as soon as the cycles are increasing, solids get concentrated in only place till we are able to handle them as muds.
One of the most sustainable technologies consists in the installation of a treatment plant that works based on a combination of physical, chemical and biological processes (anaerobic and aerobic), on the other hand, this kind of technology is not equally available to all, due to its high installation and operational costs.
Bagasse Waste Management
Regarding the bagasse, some companies choose to place its waste in sanitary landfills, an action that is not recommended because the storage space can become overloaded very fast, reducing its useful life cycle. Some others use this kind of waste as raw material to produce paper, for filling mattresses or as a bio-fuel to obtain energy. One of the options that can be very sustainable if applied correctly, is to treat waste and turn it into compost, this way the residues at the end of their treatment can be used in the agave fields as soil improvers and we would have many benefits, specially the fact that we can reduce the use of agro-chemicals, land's erosion and prevent the agave diseases.
Do you want to know how have we done this succesfully in Casa Sauza? I invite you to read my next article: Sustainable Waste Management in Casa Sauza
Or download our free eBook, where these processes are explained in more detail: Waste Management eBook
Come and visit Casa Sauza so you can learn how the modernization of our production processes deliver the purest tequila that you will find in the market.