After frying, the used oil leaves the kitchen for the hands of two young Cape Verdeans, who, by hand, have already turned 7.5 tons of this residue into soap and detergent, and who hope to make Biodosa the largest ecological company in the world. parents.
Alex Mascarenhas and Deritson de Pina finished their degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Cape Verde (Uni-CV) in early 2018 and wasted no time in putting into practice the teachings of the years of the course, namely the principles of recycling, which are the four ‘R’: recycle, reduce, reuse and recover.
And in market research, already with the intention of creating their own company, they found that Cape Verde is an “ecologically weak” country, with a lot of waste, such as plastic and paper, in which the solution is to burn or landfill, he said. agency Lusa Deritson de Pina.
And there is also used cooking oil, which is even more polluting, with young people finding the “strong point” there to create Biodosa, a company that during the rest of 2018 worked on an experimental basis, looking for support and conducting studies , registered in January 2019 and officially started the activity the following month.
According to Deritson de Pina, 26, there were many solutions for recycling used cooking oil, such as the production of candles, gear oil, fuel, but “the easiest way” was to convert it into soap and detergent, two ecological products and biodegradable.
And the field work started with the main restaurants in the city of Praia, with the presentation of the project and the collection of used oils for recycling, in a craft process, which takes place at the home of the other partner of the company, Alex Mascarenhas.
To reach the soap and detergent, the oil goes through several stages, from filtration and decantation, to expel all residues, then following the treatment to remove the smell and the black color, described Deritson de Pina.
“Then we started the production process, put it on a tray for 24 hours to dry, cut and finish it to reach stores,” said one of Biodosa’s partners, who also uses caustic soda, a strong base to help oil turn into soap, and the natural essences are eucalyptus, lemon and lavender.
“The process is all handcrafted, but our idea is to be the largest ecological company in Cape Verde, to have machines, among others, and our own space,” said the chemical engineer, for whom the fact that they are still installed in one of the partners helps to reduce some expenses, but it is different from its own facilities.
The first ‘tests’ of the products were made precisely with the residents of Eugénio Lima, where they have the provisional installation, which after using the soap they named it Rendosa, because it lasts for a long time.
In less than three years of operation, young people have collected around nine thousand liters of oil in restaurants and private homes in the city of Praia, of which they have recycled close to 7.5 tons, preventing this waste from reaching nature or sewage pipes .
On average, Biodosa produces an average of 1,500 bar soaps and also sells an average of 1,000, at a price of 40 escudos (0.36 euro cents) at the factory and 30 escudos (0.27 euro cent) to resellers , according to Deritson de Pina.
Despite already having several clients, among them the main mini-markets in Praia, the partner of the company pointed out that there is still “a lot of resistance” in Cape Verde regarding ecological products and made in the country.
That is why, in addition to recycling, the company is strongly committed to raising people’s awareness of environmental protection, the young businessman continued, recalling that one liter of oil contaminates one million liters of water.
“These are the local and global consequences that we show people. And there is an even greater consequence when we pour oil into the sea, causing floods and global warming, during the decomposition process, in which it consumes a lot of oxygen and releases products such as carbon dioxide and methane, which are harmful to the ozone layer ” , said the chemist.
Deritson de Pina, a native of the municipality of Santa Cruz, also on the island of Santiago and a resident of Palmarejo, Praia, said that he and colleague Alex Mascarenhas are proud, because they are putting into practice everything they have learned and for they are “doing something for the environment, protecting the environment”.
According to the engineer, for now the focus is on oil recycling, but Biodosa aims to work with all types of waste to transform them into an environmentally friendly and biodegradable product.
Deritson de Pina pointed out that the company wants to show people that they are not buying only soap or detergent, but a cause, which is the protection of the environment, in which one liter of oil can produce seven cubes of soap.
“Our goal is to minimize the environmental impact caused by waste and make people aware of ecology, to live sustainably, which should start at home, separating waste, reusing it, delivering it to a company or seeing another solution for it”, concluded.
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