Water/Wastewater/Water Recycling - Beverage Industry: Global
A search through online databases reveals an overall general view of the methods that beverage companies are using concerning wastewater and water recycling and reuse. These include: working with state and local agencies and governments to establish safe water treatment protocols and water practices, reusing the treated water again themselves and having it put back directly into the ecosystem or community, developing ways to treat their own wastewater themselves, and even finding novel ways to reuse the wastewater, such as having it transformed into a useful biogas.
What Beverage Companies are Doing About Water, Wastewater, and Water Recycling/Reuse
- Many beverage companies are working alongside local municipalities and state governments to have their wastewater treated adequately and either sent back to the company or back to the environment and ecosystem or the communities themselves.
- Many of the beverage industry leaders have even begun to implement their own wastewater treatment facilities to have the water be recycled for use or to be sent back to nature and communities at safe and acceptable standards. To do this, some companies have established a system of locally-concentrated, diverse water initiatives, which are created through cooperation with third-party partners, local communities, and governments. The initiatives/projects typically "grow out of source water vulnerability assessments (SVA)" that each business performs, and the SVAs develop regulatory, social, and environmental risks inventories to water various sources that are helping to supply each facility as well as the surrounding communities.
- These major companies investing large amounts into their sustainable water management goals, such as Coca-Cola, which has invested around $1 billion towards their wastewater treatment projects at their facilities, have launched company-wide initiatives and have publicly announced their intentions for many others to follow suit. For example, PepsiCo employs water stewardship by expanding access to safe water or enhancing water-use efficiency at various farms, as well as manufacturing facilities, to help it restore water in specific areas, namely regions where the company operates or those that are at risk the most.
- Some beverage companies within these initiatives have started to work with experts outside of their company, in order to measure and evaluate the levels of toxins in the water and the differing water qualities. Also, seeking the advice of governments around the world and reviewing their regulations on how they deal with wastewater, they are modeling their own company systems likewise.
- Increasing awareness of environmental issues that deal with all aspects of water waste through education and initiatives is a step that many companies feel is important in their sustainable water management goals. PepsiCo promotes the use of smart water standards, provides some best practices and data with its stakeholders, and utilizes training and public education for communities, as well as consumers.
- Working with outside agencies that assess safe local water use and sourcing practices is a common action taken by beverage companies who are trying to be sustainable in their water management. PepsiCo India partnered with Alternative Development Initiative (ADI), which operates as a development support organization, to conduct water assessment mapping of the company's plants in which it develops priority water resources (e.g., temporary dams, community pods) that can be utilized for rejuvenation. It also collaborates with state governments to help treat wastewater bodies in order to make the water suitable for irrigation.
- A growing trend amongst sustainable water practices by beverage companies is to have the water either converted within the company or outsourced and then returned, transformed into a biogas that can directly fuel the company's energy demands or even the communities.