Nestlé has opened its most water-efficient factory in the world in Mexico, in a move that the company plans to replicate in other Nestlé factories globally. Through new processes that deliver significant efficiencies, Nestlé’s Cero Agua dairy factory in the central, water-stressed state of Jalisco will move towards being a zero-water factory. It will use mostly recycled water from its dairy operations.
The water resource savings are equivalent to the volume needed per day to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, or enough water to meet the average daily consumption of 6,400 people in Mexico.
“In Mexico and around the world, water is a vital and fragile resource,” said Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke. “Due to the relevance of water in the production of food and its role in the preservation of life, Nestlé worldwide will continue to pursue initiatives that contribute to the maintenance and access to natural resources.”
The Cero Agua dairy factory takes fresh cow’s milk, normally around 88% water, and heats it at low pressure to remove some of its water content. The resulting steam is then condensed and treated and used to clean the evaporating machines themselves. Once the machines have been flushed out, the water is then collected once more, purified and recycled a second time. The water can then be reused for watering gardens or cleaning.
Reusing water from the milk in this way removes the need to extract groundwater for operations. The amount of groundwater that the Cero Agua dairy saves each day (around 1.6 million litres) will amount to roughly 15% of the total water used by Nestlé in Mexico each year in its factories, operations and offices.
Worldwide, Nestlé aims to further reduce its water withdrawal per tonne of product by 40% by 2015, compared to 2005.
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