As one of the most efficient dairy businesses in the UK, Müller Milk & Ingredients recycles waste water at two of its largest processing facilities. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, we care about our impact on the environment and, secondly, we already feel the impact of climate change. Extreme weather patterns have put significant strain on the water supplies in a number of regions in England so we have seized the opportunity to improve the sustainability of the business.
Opened in 2008, our Bridgwater facility treats waste-water to better than bathing water standards, which allows discharge to a local river. In 2011, the addition of a Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant means the site can treat around 300,000L per day to drinking water standards for re-use. This reduces reliance on local water supplies and serves to enhance biodiversity in the local water-course.
The RO technology was first introduced in early 2011, allowing around 200,000 litres of water leaving Bridgwater’s onsite effluent treatment plant to be recycled and reused. This installation has been expanded and is now providing over 50% of the water required by the dairy, which has an annual production of around 500 million litres.
The Reverse Osmosis technology uses a membrane to remove 99% of residual COD, dissolved salts and bacteria from the treated wastewater, producing water of quality at least equal to the mains supply. The low-pressure membranes and high efficiency pumps make it one of the most energy efficient plants on the market.
Recycled water is used across the dairy for everything, from cleaning the filling lines to pasteurising the milk.
Not only is this super efficient but it significantly reduces the need to draw water from the local water supplies.
We have since commissioned a similar system in the Droitwich Spa facility, which recycles over 500,000L of water a day. These two facilities combined account for 60% of the group’s total water consumption.
As a leading processor of fresh milk we know we have duty to maximise our water efficiency and minimise our environmental impact. These innovative projects are allowing us to significantly reduce our demands on the local water supply whilst reducing our carbon footprint. We see this as a sustainability project that embraces the following three pillars:
- Environmental – this project reduces our demand on shrinking natural resources
- Social – dwindling water supplies put a strain on local communities and biodiversity
- Financial – We benefit from reduced water and treatment costs
Although we are seen as the most efficient dairy company in the UK, we know we can do more. Our hope is that through our commitment to water sustainability, we will provide inspiration for other companies to follow our lead.