Nestlé reduces water consumption in South African dairy factory

Article by Amanda Doyle

NESTLÉ South Africa is transforming its Mossel Bay dairy factory into a “zero water” site by re-using water recovered during the milk evaporation process.

Over the last six years, Nestlé has installed new water recovery, treatment, and recycling technology at its dairy factory in Mossel Bay. The factory produces milk products such as condensed and powdered milk and is located in one of the Western Cape’s most water-stressed regions, making efficient water use essential.

The R88m (US$6.4m) zero water facility was inaugurated by the minister of water and sanitation, Gugile Nkwinti, earlier this month. The initiative, known as Project ZerEau, will see the factory’s water use drop by over 50% during the first year – saving 168m L/y of water – and the aim is to eventually reduce municipal water intake to zero.

Cows’ milk contains around 88% water, and the new technology will capture the evaporated water, treat it, and then use it for other applications within the facility. There will be a reduction in wastewater, which will release capacity at the municipality’s wastewater treatment plant.

The project also creates methane as a by-product which is then used to power a boiler, reducing energy use.

Nestlé South Africa’s chairman and managing director, Remy Ejél, said:

“Project ZerEau is a perfect example of our commitment to enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future of individuals, communities and the planet. This project will have a positive impact on the treatment, recycling, conservation and water use efficiencies in our Mossel Bay factory.”

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter

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