In our Food processing plants, we have introduced a number of measures aiming at reducing water consumption or replacing water sourced from aqueducts with wells.
At the Isabel brand manufacturing plant in Manta (Ecuador), we started using a reverse osmosis water treatment system that makes it possible to use water sourced from wells, once it has been adequately treated, in the food processing plant. This allows for a reduction in the water sourced from aqueducts by 1,000 m3 a day, thereby freeing up treated water resources for human consumption. A new well has been drilled to increase this capacity and make the manufacturing plant self-sufficient, ultimately doing away with the need to use aqueduct water. In 2020, three new reservoirs have been built, supplementing the two installed in previous years. This enables us to produce 17,000 m3 of water every month, which will soon be enough to provide for the nearby Tri Marine site, as part of an approach based on industrial symbiosis and sustainable business.
We are also assessing the alternatives to water sourced from the aqueduct for the Isabel plant in Agadir (Morocco). More specifically, the installation of a new cooling tower system that reuses water from manufacturing processes in the sterilization cycle is under consideration, as an alternative to using water from the municipal network. The consequent reduction in water consumption would amount to approximately 10%, a result that is all the more remarkable if we consider that this is an area in which water resources are more scarce than others in which we operate. Furthermore, in Agadir, we also installed a new water purification system that allows greater control over compliance with reference parameters for wastewater.
Meanwhile, in the Home & Personal Care Business Unit, a useful example is provided by the Calenzano site, which produces Personal Care products. We took action to upgrade the cleaning tanks installed at the purification plants, in order to increase the water storage capacity, reduce water consumption and bring down disposal costs.
This solution enabled us to contain levels of water withdrawal during the emptying and reactivation phases of the tanks, which are now filled every three months rather then once a week.
Staying in Calenzano, another significant measure designed to reduce water consumption was the introduction of the new sensitive mixing plant, where the products are produced in bulk before being packaged up.
Unlike the previous system, sanitisation takes place using the steam produced by methane gas and not using chemical disinfectants. This had the dual effect of bringing about a 9% reduction in cleaning water usage and the elimination of chemical disinfectants.