Water Conservation Initiatives Flow at Kimberly-Clark and Perdue Farms
As part of the company’s ongoing Sustainability 2015 strategy, Kimberly-Clark, whose brands include Kleenex, Scott, Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex and Depend, has named its efforts Water for Life.
K-C says it uses about 34 billion gallons of water per year, but returns 94 percent of the water it uses. Under Water for Life, the company is participating in several water replenishment projects aiming to return at least 200 million gallons per year in water-stressed areas around the world—the equivalent of more than 300 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
In Akola, Maharashtra in India, a K-C project captures monsoon rains using check dams, to provide water for drinking, washing and irrigation. In Israel, a team from K-C’s Nahariya mill worked with the National Water Agency to reduce the facility’s water consumption, and also drilled a private well to provide 80 million gallons of water for the plant, reducing the factory’s reliance on water from the Sea of Galilee. This replenishes the equivalent of annual water consumption for 6,000 people, K-C says.
And in Spain, K-C’s Save-a-Flush campaign provides consumers with water saver bags which, when fitted into a toilet tank, displace a liter of water per flush. The campaign saves 250 million liters a year, the company says.
Poultry agribusiness firm Perdue Farms has introduced a number of programs to reduce water consumption at its plants. According to Sustainable Plant, Perdue has reduced water use by more than 683,000 gallons per plant per week at its 14 food production plants through water conservation programs.
The company’s Shore Water Conservation Initiative is already in place at the company’s five plants on the U.S. eastern seashore and soon to be rolled out at its other plants, Steve Schwalb, Perdue’s vice president of environmental sustainability, told Sustainable Plant. The project’s methods include efforts to reduce water use; reuse and repurposing of water used to clean slaughtered birds and machinery; and installation of electronic flow meters for real-time water monitoring.
Perdue staff started by looking for leaking valves and missing hose nozzles. Also early on in the process, they began visiting the plants on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, when no processing was taking place, to inspect the water meters. When the water meters showed activity, Perdue investigated the cause, Schwalb said.
Perdue also found it could use screening and chlorination to re-use water from bird washing, saving about 360 gallons of water per minute. And it upgraded some of its processing lines to a higher speed, which when combined with some newly available technology, enabled it to reduce the amount of equipment at the plants.
The company says it has also invested millions of dollars in state-of-the-art upgrades to its wastewater treatment facilities, which means the water coming out of the treatment plants is now cleaner than the well water Perdue draws out of the ground.
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