Kraft cuts water use by 20 per cent

Posted by James Ferre on 11th August 2009

Over the past three years, Kraft Foods has reduced water used in manufacturing processes by almost 12 billion litres – enough water to fill nearly 5,000 Olympic swimming pools.

The food manufacturer reported that the figure represented a 21 per cent reduction since 2005, exceeding their initial water saving goal two years early.

“We’re changing behaviour and getting results,” Steve Yucknut, Vice President of Sustainability at Kraft, suggested. “Around the world, thousands of our employees are working on projects that help us reduce our environmental impact. We focus on manufacturing, since that’s where we use the most water for internal operations. And we pay particular attention to water-scarce areas, where the need is greatest.”

Some of the company’s successful water saving ventures thus far:

AUSTRALIA: Kraft’s Port Melbourne plant recently won a leading environmental award for identifying opportunities and taking actions to reduce potable water use up to 39 per cent (74 million liters per year). The project will reuse production process water and optimise clean-in-place systems for manufacturing equipment. Port Melbourne is working to find new uses for wastewater – even partnering with a road construction group to reuse approximately 10 million liters per year for road compaction and dust suppression.

BAHRAIN: Cheese and beverage plant reduced water use by 33 per cent (18 million liters per year) by using alternative options to enhance the effectiveness of cleaning without compromising product quality. Now, product lines can run longer without interruption.

GERMANY: Fallingbostel cheese plant reduced water use by 7 per cent (70 million liters per year). The plant is now reusing its manufacturing process water – instead of using the town’s water – to run the plant’s cooling towers.

UNITED STATES:
* Florida: Jacksonville coffee plant installed a closed-loop system to reuse water to cool coffee grinding equipment instead of using city water, helping it reduce water use by more than 35 per cent (75 million liters).
* Georgia: Atlanta Bakery reduced water use by 33 per cent (64 million liters). Employees reduced the amount of water used for cleaning specific equipment and also eliminated unnecessary re-cleaning of equipment. They also changed cleaning procedures to begin cleaning before using water and repaired leaks at the facility.
* Illinois: The Champaign grocery plant reduced water use by nearly 20 per cent (450 million liters). Employees raised awareness about ways to reduce water use, fixed leaks and outfitted plant boilers and evaporating equipment to reuse well water instead of the town’s water.

In addition, at its corporate headquarters in Northfield, three lakes on the campus capture rainwater for reuse in handling half of the property’s irrigation needs. And the building is cooled by ice – recycled water is frozen at night, and fans push the cool air the ice generates into the offices.