How a Recycling Water System Gives Food and Beverage Companies a Reliable Water Source
If there’s one thing that’s true about the food and beverage industry, it’s that companies need a reliable water source to operate successfully. Food and beverage brands cannot exist without water, and that reality is apparent when considering the amount of water this industry uses. This makes it important for food and beverage companies to implement a water recycling system into their operations to utilize the wash water that is typically discharged for non potable process water applications such as cleaning or for cooling tower water processes.
According to the Water Footprint Network, food and beverage companies use 170 to 310 liters of water to generate a half liter of soda, 300 liters of water to produce a liter of beer, and 140 liters of water to make one cup of coffee. Considering that only 3% of the earth’s water is fresh, meaning it’s viable for commercial and non-commercial purposes, the food and beverage industry is using significant amounts of a very limited resource.
Water is finite and dwindling. For food and beverage companies, that finite resource is becoming increasingly stressed. If brands want to have a long-term future—and, more importantly, provide the sustenance people need to live—they must use a recycling water system to create a new, reliable water source to reduce dependency on potable water supplies.
A recycling water system is simply a process that reclaims water and then treats it so that it’s safe enough to reuse for various purposes, including groundwater replenishment, industrial processes, agriculture and irrigation, and environmental restoration.
For food and beverage companies, in particular, reclaimed water can be great for various applications. For example, businesses can reuse water to clean vehicles and warehouse floors. Or, they can reuse water for dust mitigation and irrigation or in evaporators, boilers, or chillers. With the proper water treatment technology, reclaimed water can even be used for boiler feed, cooking or end-product production.
The advantage of using a recycling water system is simple. Food and beverage companies can no longer over-rely on freshwater resources, so they must look at other options. To put that into perspective, here are three reasons why reclaimed water—instead of freshwater—can become a new reliable water source.
In 2011, California entered a seven-year drought, impacting many communities and food and beverage companies. Nestle was one of the businesses that faced significant challenges. When the multinational food and beverage company extracted large quantities of water in California during the drought, it faced criticism from conservationists and local communities. The situation became so bad that it affected Nestle’s operations and forced the company to put $7 million towards conservation projects to reduce its water consumption. In 2018, after consistent water conservation efforts, the U.S. Forest Service finally provided Nestle with a three-year permit to extract water from California.
A similar issue popped up in India, where water shortages are becoming the new normal. In 2004, Coca-Cola closed one of its bottling plants in India because activists and local communities were upset with the company for extracting large amounts of water from its local resources. Apparently, a thousand local families protested for more than 600 days because Coca-Cola was extracting so much water that rice paddies were turning into a desert and coconut palms were dying.
These two examples highlight the backlash that food and beverage companies can face when they rely on freshwater resources as their primary water supply in an age where water shortages are prevalent. Local communities facing droughts and water scarcity will no longer think it’s acceptable for food and beverage companies to use freshwater resources abundantly. People want businesses to take a more sustainable approach to their operations, and a recycling water system provides that option.
On top of experiencing community backlash, food and beverage companies that continue to rely on freshwater resources could hinder their business operations. According to research published in an article by EOS Intelligence, a multinational food and beverage company called Danone experienced operational issues when Southeast Brazil suffered severe droughts in 2014 and 2015. The droughts were so bad that it decreased water supply in the region, impacting Danone’s operations and limiting production capacity. Ultimately, the company lost $6 million in sales as a result of this.
Another food and beverage company also experienced significant loss because of the droughts in Brazil. In 2015, J.M. Smucker reported a net loss of $90.3 million because coffee bean prices skyrocketed in the country, a leading coffee producer. Due to the droughts in Brazil, crop production decreased, given that the water supply needed for irrigation was reduced significantly, thus increasing the costs of raw materials for coffee processors.
For any company, a loss in sales is a huge hit. However, for food and beverage companies, the impact can be even greater. In some municipalities, it’s incredibly expensive to get water, and if a drought increases the cost even more, the financial strain can put food and beverage companies out of business. This is why having a reliable water source—like a recycling water system—that reduces dependency on freshwater is a great idea.
With water scarcity affecting many areas worldwide, companies have to prioritize sustainability, and many are doing so by implementing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs. These initiatives encourage companies to incorporate business practices that protect the environment, cultivate good relationships, and ensure fair company structures.
On the environmental side, it’s common for companies to have goals concerning water consumption and reuse. However, it’s uncommon to see companies actually meet these goals. Many businesses, especially those in the food and beverage industry, still have trouble accomplishing their ESG objectives. Some companies do not know how to create a reliable water source, so they continue to consume freshwater resources despite the existence of water shortages. In other cases, food and beverage brands simply struggle to meet water quality regulations, which are becoming increasingly stringent.
Fortunately, a water recycling system can help food and beverage companies meet both their sustainability and ESG goals. This solution is not only a sustainable process but is also a method that will save the company money over the long term while also meeting regulatory compliance standards.
Given the reasons for using a recycling water system and the various beneficial purposes of implementing one, food and beverage companies would gain plenty of advantages. Utilizing these systems can provide a reliable water source especially for non potable applications. For businesses that want to take this step, they need to ensure they implement a good recycling water system.
A few specialized technologies utilized by our team at Genesis Water Technologies, to assist food and beverage companies that want to take advantage of water reuse are listed below. Based on the inlet water quality challenges present in your current operations our team typically integrates several of our technologies. These include mechanical filtration, biological treatment and sustainable electrochemical/chemical treatments to meet the required treated water standards for your specific operations.
GWT Zeoturb: This biological treatment is an advanced liquid solution that handles the flocculation and clarification of water. It’s designed to reduce and remove the presence of trace heavy metals and organic and inorganic particles like dyes, algae, sediment, and silt.
Electrocoagulation: This specialized water treatment system utilizes an innovative and highly effective electrochemical process to remove toxins from a water supply sustainably. Some of the contaminants that are removed include pesticides, bacteria, suspended solids, organics, and much more. Electrocoagulation is great for certain food and beverage applications where there is certain levels of the conductivity in the water to optimize power consumption.
Genclean-AQ: This NSF-certified solution combats organic contaminants and microbiological pathogens typically found in different types of process water and wastewater. It’s highly effective because of its advanced oxidation process, which generates reactive oxygen compounds and hydroxyl radicals without external power to oxidize almost all pollutants in water and wastewater. This solution also disinfects without leaving toxic residue, allowing food and beverage companies to still meet hygiene standards.
For food and beverage companies, taking the step toward a recycling water system is not just a wise business decision; it’s a commitment to a more sustainable and responsible future. By implementing advanced treatment technologies like GWT Zeoturb, Electrocoagulation, and Genclean-AQ, provided by Genesis Water Technologies, businesses can achieve the reliable water source they need while making a positive impact on the environment and their bottom line.
Join the movement towards water sustainability and secure your company’s future. Embrace a recycling water system and ensure a reliable, eco-friendly water source for your business today. Contact Genesis Water Technologies to get started. Your journey to a more sustainable tomorrow begins now.
You can reach out to us by calling us at +1 877-267-3699 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your specific application.