Friday 1 September 2023

Manufacturers can make headway on carbon reductions, efficiency and sustainability gains, by looking more at water

Manufacturers can make headway on carbon reductions, efficiency and sustainability gains, by looking more at water

With more than 20 years’ experience with water in the UK, Helen shares the valuable actions and steps for site managers – and sustainability teams - to take, to save water, stop waste and improve results for the environment too.

Knowing what’s used where, is essential

Knowing what sites you have, where and how water is used in processes - and generally - are all important steps to take, if you haven’t already, along with keeping this information up to date.

Noting water meter readings during the year – and keeping a look out for any other areas where water use has increased, like a new drip, or leak, helps reduce running costs and impacts on the environment. Access water meters only where it’s safe to, to gain readings.

From reusing water from processes and washing products, to reduce the amount of freshwater needed – and cutting wastewater volumes needing to be treated – to other options, there are a range of areas to consider to deliver greater efficiency.

As part of work with manufacturers around water use, Water Plus has backed the search for businesses leading the way to reduce impacts on the environment – and will be at the Food and Drink Federation Awards 2023. It’s the second year running for the awards support by Water Plus to encourage further progress around gaining more from water, through efficiency and innovation – and engaging people power at sites.

Tracking how water’s used during the year pays

Data loggers on a water meter identified an unexpected water increase seeing 48,000 litres used in a day at a manufacturing site. It allowed quicker reaction to address this, rather than awaiting the next water bill.

Another manufacturer saw a 300 cubic metres of water efficiency gain at just one site, identified by a data logger – that’s 300,000 litres of water. It can cost more than £900 in wholesaler supply charges alone.

UK cups and mugs hold between 250 ml and 350 ml of liquid, with 1,000 ml in a litre, so that gives you an idea of the scale of the water volumes involved.

Energise efficiencies at your site

Energy is on the mind for many. Water efficiency gains around hot water use, or even moving less water around sites using pumps – or in processes, including food manufacturing, can all help reduce energy use.

One manufacturer told the Water Plus Advanced Services team, in 2023, that a data logger installed by the Water Plus team, as part of a number put in across sites since September 2022, was helping them with energy saving too.

Helen said: “Reusing water for cooling, or other things, optimising pressure – and optimising the amount of water used through automated cleaning cycles - are all areas to consider. Plus, controlling overflows and auto shut offs – and fixing leaks, there are also other ways food and drink, along with other manufacturers, can increase the power in water and reduce carbon emissions linked to organisations.

“Manufacturers are harnessing the power of water more and more, seeing the opportunities and wider benefits greater water efficiency can have – not only on running costs and energy, but Scope 3 and other emissions too.”

Everyone can help and look out for leaks (plus other areas where water waste can happen):

A leaky loo can waste up to 400 litres of water a day – and a tap left running can use around 6 litres of water a minute – so all those using a site can make a difference with actions and reporting areas needing attention.

Spotting areas where there are drips and leaks help to prevent water supply interruptions at a site – so the manufacturing operation doesn’t get interrupted or disrupted.

Manufacturers have also held Sustainability Days with employees in 2023, which Water Plus supported – and they say helped raise awareness and engagement with employees around water and energy use at sites.

Plus, employees are also a great source to suggest changes and different approaches to improve efficiency with water and processes even further.

Use sustainable trade effluent solutions

Trade effluent solutions will be different for every organisation – though treating your effluent could help save money and reduce carbon emissions – even supporting with your Net Zero ambitions.

There are opportunities to innovate with your waste – and develop bespoke treatment solutions to suit your specific site and sector requirements.

Innovations might include treating effluent on-site, or repurposing waste in clever ways to cut costs. If you don’t treat or reuse your effluent, you might be missing an opportunity to save money.

It’s also essential to ensure you comply with the conditions in your trade effluent consent.

Water Plus effluent experts can advise on compliance, as well as treatment options to reduce discharge costs. Our team can install effluent meters to accurately record discharged volumes and automatic sampling equipment makes sure samples are representative of the average effluent strength.

More about award-winning water partnerships

Work with organisations around their water use has seen Water Plus win a Global Gold in Water Management in the Green World Awards 2023 and win a UK Customer Satisfaction Award in 2023. It follows two National Sustainability Awards, in October 2022, including Carbon Reduction - and five Green Apple Environment Awards, including Gold for Water Management in November 2022.

Water Plus is presenting the Environmental Leadership award at the Food and Drink Federation Awards 2023. It also sponsored the Sustainable Packaging FDF Award in 2022.

Find out more about efficiency approaches with business water – and how Water Plus water experts are helping organisations across England and Scotland - on the Water Plus website at: . The web page also includes further details on the Measure, Save, Protect, Connect and other business water retail services.

To partner with Water Plus for your business water, email .

*Water use increases were seen in December 2021 and December 2022.

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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