RO membranes one solution helping UK manufactures cut £2m in water costs

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RO membranes one solution helping UK manufactures cut £2m in water costs

Signatories to the Federation House Commitment (FHC) significantly reduced the amount of water used in the manufacture of food and drink last year, saving the industry £2 million in the purchase price of water alone.

The news comes as part of the Commitment’s annual progress report, published today by WRAP.

Between 2012 and 2013, signatories reduced their water use by 1.35 million cubic metres, meaning that since the start of the FHC in 2007 signatories have collectively made a 15.6% reduction in their water use - excluding water in product.

This is equivalent to 6.1 million m3 reduction in annual water use since FHC began while production increased by 8.2% at these same sites over this period.

The figures for water intensity - the amount of water needed per unit of production – also saw a dramatic reduction of 22% compared to the 2007 baseline, decreasing by 0.49 m3 per tonne of product.

Case studies are included within the report outlining a selection of these, including the example of Kellogg’s manufacturing site in Manchester which halved its water use since joining the FHC in 2008, achieving a water intensity reduction of 55% between 2007 and 2013.

A reverse osmosis water treatment system was installed at the Manchester site in 2012 enabling water to meet high quality standards for use in “grey water” applications at the factory, such as in wet scrubbers and cooling operations separate from food production. As a result of these measures the site reduced its water use by 26% in 2012.

Environment Minister Dan Rogerson said: “Becoming more water efficient is not only good for the environment but passes on savings to companies which in turn helps create a stronger economy and fairer society. I am very pleased to see the manufacturing industry reducing its water use and I hope others will follow suit.”

Managed by WRAP in partnership with the Food and Drink Federation and Dairy UK, the Federation House Commitment is supported by the Environment Agency and Defra. Today’s report summarises the water savings made by signatories in 2013, as well as highlighting measures undertaken by individual companies to reduce water use at their UK manufacturing sites.

Neil Davies, deputy director for site based regulation at the Environment Agency, said: “The environmental and business benefits of adopting the latest approaches and techniques in water efficiency are clear, not least given the increasingly apparent impacts of climate change.” 

FHC signatories are required to provide data annually on water use and production.  To maintain individual company data confidentiality, water use data is aggregated and reported on a collective basis.

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