Net zero and reducing wastewater in manufacturing

In November 2021, Make UK released the first road map to net zero for the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers account for 21% of our greenhouse gas emissions, making the industry one of the largest producers of emissions in the UK.  

Awareness of the problem and how to tackle it is growing. According to a report from Make UK in association with Sage, 98% of manufacturers are aware of the net zero by 2050 target and 92% agree this is achievable with the right support from the government.   

Net zero and reducing wastewater  

Of all the resources and energy consumed by the manufacturing industry, water may seem like one of the lesser evils. But water use in high volumes contributes greatly to environmental pressures, using finite supplies and requiring energy for processing.  

Population growth, rising water use and climate change will increasingly affect future water resources in the UK. If water efficiency action is not increased, the UK could be hit by water shortages by 2050.”  

Reducing consumption and reusing water in manufacturing 

It is inescapable that many manufacturers rely on water in large volumes for production processes on site. Pure water is used to produce a huge variety of products, from food, drink, and hygiene products, to medication, machinery, and vehicles.  

While eliminating water use is not an option, limiting the amount of wastewater and reusing water is achievable for many manufacturers. This is something that some manufacturers, including those within food production, are already considering: 

Enabling on-site reuse, reducing wastewater load, and improving cleaning are three ways to reduce water use in food and beverage manufacturing. 

When the water is prime for reuse ―and as long as it is not contaminated enough to be considered waste ― a plant can strive for water neutrality across the facility. Determining the quality of water helps drive decisions for proper and safe water reuse.”  

New Food Magazine  

What methods reuse and recycle water in manufacturing?  

Where wastewater is not contaminated, the waste stream can be redirected and used within another process, such as cleaning. It is possible to treat water to remove contaminants and make it the desired purity level suitable for reuse.  

The type of water system required for on-site water recycling depends on a business’s processes and the products they manufacture. The existing water system and the purity levels required for each stage of production must be considered.  

Assessing and updating a water treatment system with efficiency in mind can lead to water savings being made. Manufacturers can find out if water savings are possible within their operation by arranging a site survey with a water treatment engineer. 

25% water saving for Safestyle UK  

Safestyle UK approached Excel Water to help them improve the efficiency of their glass washing machine. The machine required high quality pure water in large volumes. 

Their existing water treatment system was not suitable and was resulting in quality issues in the product. This meant wasted product and more energy (and water) used redoing batches that had to be scrapped after not meeting quality standards.  

The solution  

We recommended a brake tank and booster set system to feed new twin duplex water softeners and new twin 900ltr RO systems. To improve water efficiency, we designed a system that reused the waste stream from the ROs.  

The waste stream water was soft but high in conductivity, and suitable for use on the glass cutting machines, therefore saving water. Safestyle UK is now using 100% of the water from the RO system, as opposed to sending 25% to drain. 

See more case studies here

We hope this article has provided plenty of useful information on industrial boiler water treatment and pre-treatment. For more details or to arrange a survey for your business, contact us on 0113 232 0005 or