No Whey! Dairy Byproducts Used to Make Hand Sanitizer

( Canva - Taylor Leach )

The demand for hand sanitizer has reached an all-time high during the COVID-19 global pandemic. But, could the disinfectant cleansing your hands have been derived from one of your favorite dairy products? If you are from New York, then chances are likely it was.

New Age Renewable Energy, operating under its trade name Cayuga Ingredients in King Ferry, New York, has been transforming unusable dairy byproducts into virus fighting BOS Hand Sanitizer. Originally, the farmer-owned company was set to open their facility to produce beverage-grade alcohol in March, just as the U.S. was hit hard by the coronavirus. However, like many other companies, they shifted their focus to fighting the crisis and BOS Hand Sanitizer was born, the company said in a press release.

Using a sustainable, innovative process, New Age has been able to distill alcohol from the milk derivative to create the hand sanitizer. Currently, the product meets the guidelines of the FDA and World Health Organization, as it contains 80% alcohol and no methanol. 

“Our method has been developed over the better part of a decade,” says Joe Van Groll, creator and co-founder of the company. “We knew the positive impact that our process would have on the industry and environment. We never imagined that we might play a part in saving lives as well."

Unlike traditional ethanol distillation, New Age’s process produces and recycles water, rather than consumes it, according to the company. For each gallon of ethanol New Age distills, five gallons of water is created. Additionally, New Age is able to produce one pound of high-protein animal from the dairy byproduct.

To date, the hand sanitizer has been purchased by governments, donated to nonprofits and has been shipped as far as Alaska and Hawaii. And, it doesn’t sound like the company is going to stop producing this essential product anytime soon.

“Although we have no plans to stop producing sanitizer, we look forward to carrying out our original goal of distilling spirits,” says company president, Eduard Zaydman. “It will be a particularly special moment, after having produced alcohol to sanitize, when we produce it to celebrate.”