Santa Rita adheres to clean production agreement “Zero Waste”6 de May de 2019
Aligned with the winery’s strategic sustainability plan, and together with the efforts made nationwide to address the problem of generation and indiscriminate shipment of waste to landfills, Santa Rita’s Alto Jahuel facilities joined to other 45 companies that are committed to cease sending waste to such landfills within the next two years.
May 2019. According to the World Bank, waste generated in our planet accounts for 2,010 millions of tons, number that will rise up to 3.400 million tons by 2050. Therefore, in a little over three decades, we will generate an increase in waste by almost 70%. Chile leads South America’s waste generation with 1.15 kg per person per day.
These figures constitute a global socio-environmental crisis that has taken on importance in recent times, leading several governments and different organizations to take measures to address and tackle the pollution generated by our consumption habits.
Although in Chile certain regulations have been promoted such as the prohibition of plastic bags and the Law on Extended Producer Responsibility (REP), there are sections of the production cycle that do not have incentives or rules to reduce the generation of waste, such as in the productive plants in situ, prior to the commercialization of the product.
In view of this situation, in 2017 the Clean Production Agreement (APL) “Zero Waste” was set up among a group of companies, articulated by ACCION Empresas, the Climate Change and Sustainability Agency and the Ministry of the Environment, to reduce to zero the shipment of waste to the landfill of its factories and offices.
That is why in line with the Santa Rita Sustainability strategic plan, which establishes environmental care as one of its priorities and as one of its key strategies the promotion of a minimum waste policy, along with the efforts to national level to face the problem of generation and indiscriminate shipment of waste to landfills, the main facility of the company -Buin- joined the 45 companies that undertook to stop sending waste to these landfills within a period of two years . This cane be achieved by reducing the volumes of solid waste that are eliminated, by introducing circular economy practices, in order to avoid their generation or increase their recovery and valorization.
“By the end of 2017, 93% of the total waste of the Company globally were recycled and reused, mainly constituted by the remains of pruning of the vineyards (53%), grape marc and stems of each harvest (38%). Without considering these organic wastes, we recycle and reuse 61%, mainly made up of glass, plastic and cardboard recovered from our bottling plants and warehouses. Starting in the same year, a project begun to identify gaps in waste management. The main challenges identified were increasing waste recovery at the industrial level, addressing waste that was not being valued and involving employees in the cultural change required to migrate to a circular economy in the organization”, says Elena Carretero, Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director of Santa Rita.
She added that with such diagnosis, in 2018 Santa Rita implemented the “3R” internal sustainability project, which aims to raise awareness among employees about the importance and responsibility of waste generation and to involve them in new policies and actions. Measures have also been taken in a joint effort with other areas of the company to eliminate, replace and reduce single-use disposable supplies, as well as reduce generation and maximize the recovery of waste sent to the landfill. Some of the measures have been the removal of trash cans from desks and the installation of clean points in offices, plants and warehouses, the delivery of a reusable Mug and bag, integrating ideas from employees through the sustainability Olympics, contests, awareness videos, expert talks, training, among others.
The project was the winner in the 2019 edition of the “Innova Claro” award in its Sustainability category, recognizing the direction taken at company level in waste management.
Another line of work that Santa Rita has promoted in circular economy is the valuation of the grape marc through an R & D project co-financed by Corfo and developed together with Fraunhofer Chile Research. Its objective was to value the potential of the polyphenolic profile present in the grape marc from the grape varieties that we process and evaluate its use as a sub product in the human and animal food industry. The first stage of characterization ended in 2018 and we are analyzing the feasibility of continuing to advance in a second stage to evaluate the potential in the food market and the escalation of polyphenols extraction.