As a result of COVID-19, we’re all now very familiar with seeing hand sanitiser stations in shops and public venues. We’re also pretty familiar with the varying quality of these public opportunities to protect our hands from microbes and pathogens – many are overly wet, smell terrible or just don’t seem to be that effective.
For Perth businessman Leigh Wolinski, CEO of innovative firm WET, it’s something of a serendipitous coincidence then that just as the world was being taught to stay COVID-safe by keeping our hands clean, the ex-real estate agent was embarking on a brand new challenge in the sanitisation space.
The story, though, begins more than a decade ago, long before anyone had heard the word coronavirus.
“In late 2007, I was speaking to one of the founders of GuardianAIR, at that time a specialist air-conditioning cleaning company, who had stumbled on some products from Europe utilising new technology to dispel fragrance to control odours,” says Leigh.
“I thought it was cool technology, so started helping out a few hours here and there, working with them on business development and eventually becoming pretty immersed in ways to develop product delivery and finding a better way.”
Soon enough, Leigh and the team had created a technology of hybrid nebulisation which created a cold fog – a unique way to distribute liquid products through bespoke equipment which could be tailored for pretty much any application.
Enter stage left Zoono, a cutting edge sanitizer, which was long lasting and particularly effective. GuardianAir was more than happy to become the breakthrough product’s Australian distributors.
“It was very safe for human use and was, at the time, the best performing product available,” Leigh says.
“We also became the sole distributors for Accell Clean from the USA, a highly versatile cleaning agent which was used extensively in the Deep Horizon oil disaster clean-up. This set an ecologically-ethical direction for our business.”
Using fogging technology to apply long-lasting sanitisers became the go-to technique for early adopters in WA looking for the best possible result – and companies such as Hall & Prior Aged Care Group, St John WA, Hancock Prospecting and Australian Transit Group have all jumped on board with the company’s Safe-T 24 (hand) and ST-30 (surface) sanitiser range.
“It’s a new generation of organosilane quaternary sanitisers,” says Leigh. “What that means is that once it’s dried, it forms a permanent bond on the skin, which is soft to the touch but microscopically hostile to bacteria and virus cells.”
What you might not know about the majority of sanitisers available currently is that they are mostly largely ineffective a few minutes after application, rendering them useless, particularly in times where the risk of infection – like during a global pandemic – are high.
“Traditional sanitisers kill bacteria with toxic poison or a high alcohol content – and once it’s dried, it loses efficacy completely,” says Leigh. “Safe-T 24 resembles a layer of microscopic pins which attract then pierce and kill pathogens – like a pin popping a balloon. Once it’s pierced, that pathogen can’t reform so it’s removed as a risk. Safe-T 24 is also food-safe, odourless, environmentally-safe and a water, not alcohol, based sanitiser.”
Being a non-dangerous product with super-low toxicity and being nonflammable, it’s surprising Safe-T24 hasn't become the ubiquitous sanitiser of choice, says Leigh.
“My wife and I took over WET from its original CEO in early 2018 and thanks to the great technology, a good core ethical value system and clients who have really bought into that same ethos, we’re confident that we’re poised for expansion. We have a small but great team that live, love and are passionate about what we do and what we bring to the market.”
By developing the Safe-T range and a push to bring Accell Clean to the market, Leigh passionately believes that the future of the world may rest on effective sanitisation solutions, available to all.
“So many sanitisation and cleaning products are dangerous goods, toxic, caustic and cause terrible side effects to the eco-system and humans – and yet people are resistant to trying new things,” he says.
“We’re working to change minds and habits and really believe in our products. Accell Clean cleans everything from your coffee keep cup to your home’s bathrooms and kitchen. It even works under your car’s bonnet at a fraction of the cost of other shop-bought products. It’s also 100 per cent safe for you, your pets and environment.”
Leigh admits that going from selling houses to selling the big idea of protecting humans and the environment through non-toxic cleaning and sanitisation is a big leap – but it’s no surprise when you consider his boundless energy and old-school business ethics.
“Our mantra is that we believe technology and product development should not be at the cost of our planet,” he says. “We’re promoting sustainable solutions to age-old issues; how to protect ourselves and our children from the invisible enemies found in pathogens and microbes.”
As a result of COVID-19, Leigh’s customer base suddenly became a global one and, although he’s a proudly West Australian business owner, his eyes are firmly fixed on the horizon which he sees filled with new opportunities.
“We have continued to deliver to our clients throughout the entire COVID period so far, delivering to aged care providers, schools, the medical profession and mining sites without a problem,” he says.
“We’re still small enough to care but large enough to ensure we can fulfil significant orders without letting clients down. I’m addicted to working out solutions and developing clients, always tinkering and thinking – it’s what makes me tick.”
For more information visit https://worldenvirotech.com.au/