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Nestlé to Transform Milk Factory to ‘Zero Water’ in California

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Nestlé to Transform Milk Factory to ‘Zero Water’ in California

Nestlé to Transform Milk Factory to ‘Zero Water’ in California
May 18
10:24 2015

Nestlé is investing in innovative technology to help reduce the amount of water it uses in California at the five water bottling plants and four facilities where food or petcare products are manufactured.

“Technology we have already deployed successfully elsewhere in the world to help address the challenges of water scarcity will improve our water use efficiency, relieving pressure on California’s water resources,” says Nestlé’s Head of Operations José Lopez.

Last year in Mexico, Nestlé opened its first ‘zero water’ plant, which extracts all the water it needs from milk used to manufacture dairy products.

Work is underway to transform the Nestlé USA milk factory in the city of Modesto into a ‘zero water’ factory, meaning the plant will not use any local freshwater resources for its operations.

The project should save nearly 63 million gallons (238,000 cubic metres) of water each year, equivalent to 71% of absolute withdrawals in 2014.

Around $7 million has been invested in the project which is due to be completed by the end of 2016.

At the Nestlé USA factories in Bakersfield and Tulare savings of more than 26 million gallons (100,000 cubic metres) of water each year have been identified, potentially reducing the plants’ absolute annual withdrawals by 12% compared to 2014 levels.

And planned investments this year in conservation measures to reduce the amount of water used in Nestlé Waters’ bottling plants in California are projected to save 55 million gallons of water (208,000 cubic metres) a year, a reduction of nearly 8% compared to 2014 levels.

Further measures to reduce potential water wastage at these plants are under consideration, and as these are identified there will be further updates.

Nestlé uses a phased approach to reduce water in its factories. First, engineers look for ways to optimise the processes. Second, they look for opportunities to reuse the water, for example using cooling water in vacuum systems. In the third phase, such as in the zero-water factory, they deploy innovative methods to extract water from raw materials and then recycle it.

In California Nestlé will apply a methodology called ‘Water Target Setting’ which not only identifies opportunities to reduce water usage but also the most appropriate technology to be implemented.

This approach has been used in more than 80 factories worldwide, identifying opportunities to reduce water usage by 10%-30% depending on the location.

For example at a Nestlé factory in the UK an anaerobic digestion system which converts solid and liquid sewage waste into clean water and natural gas has reduced the plant’s water footprint while at the same time cutting the amount of greenhouse gases emitted, and reducing solid waste significantly.

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