SEMARANG – Four students of the Industrial Chemical Engineering Technology Study Program (TRKI Study Program) of Vocational School of Diponegoro University (Undip) succeeded in developing innovations by utilizing tea waste raw materials into antiseptic soap or hand wash. This soap made from tea dregs, named Polytea, can kill the corona virus that causes Covid-19.

The innovations carried out by Mahendra Farih Sholawa, Rega Ardiansyah, Fellanda Harfiana and Palupi Diah Utami were captured through the Undip Vocational School 100 Young Entrepreneurs Program. The leader of the Vocational TRKI Team, Mahendra Farih Sholawa, said that Polytea was made from tea dregs that have been thrown away as raw materials. Tea dregs, which was originally only seen as waste, turns out to contain bioactive compounds in the form of flavonoids and tannins as antibacterials that can inhibit bacterial growth and as essential oils that give a distinctive fragrance, as well as saponins that function to damage cell wall proteins.

To strengthen these substances, the students used suji leaves extract as an anti-bacterial booster which prevents free radicals and is used a natural green coloring agent that contains a lot of chlorophyll. The team made choice of using suji leaves is because of the great potential of suji leaves in the environment and many people are still not aware of it. Suji leaves can be used as an ingredient for making hand washes that are more environmentally friendly.

“By utilizing tea waste materials, the four of us succeeded in creating an innovative hand wash product which named Polytea. From the test results, this product is known to kill viruses and bacteria and can prevent the spread of Covid-19,” said Mahendra, a student of Undip Vocational School class of 2019, to the PR team, on Thursday (11/25/2021).

The method of processing hand wash product is very easy and the costs used are very economical. The ingredients used in making Polytea are tea dregs extract which is done by maceration method using the best solvents, natural dyes from Suji leaves, NaCl, texapon and aquades. The manufacturing process was previously carried out on a laboratory scale first to determine the quality of this product and in the end Polytea can be produced on a home industry scale.

“The method of manufacture is by mixing all the ingredients until become homogeneous and waiting for 2×24 hours to get a Polytea solution until it is ready to use. This Polytea product has passed the organoleptic test stages such as smell, taste, texture, resistance, and color. Then the pH, viscosity and density have been tested so that they are ready to be packaged and marketed,” he said.

Another team member, Rega Ardiansyah, added that this Polytea product has also been sold on a limited basis per 250ml bottle for IDR 13,000 as a trial. The marketing targets are students, the general public, restaurants, public places, offices, pharmacies, health centers, and hospitals. The turnover can reach IDR 1,399,000/month.

“In the marketing process, we just used the word of mouth method to the closest people and did promotion through social media such as WhatsApp, Line, Instagram. In the next few months we are in the process of being able to enter and compete in the world of e-commerce or startups such as Shopee, Tokopedia, Lazada, and others,” said Rega who is also a student of Undip Vocational School class of 2019.

Rega and other team members are grateful because this Polytea hand wash product has been proven to prevent Covid-19 and many bacteria in the environment such as Staphylococcus aureus and has great inhibitory power to break the contact of viruses and bacteria in the human body. The four students were determined to develop further their findings with the guidance of the lecturers and leaders of the Undip Vocational School.

“With this innovation, it is hoped that it can be a solution for handling tea dregs as well as utilizing the local potential of suji leaves. Therefore from these ingredients we can create a healthy society and achieve Indonesia’s Sustainable Development Goals number 3, namely Good Health and Well Being,” he concluded. (PR team)