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Coke Says New Water Recovery Process Could Save 100 Billion Liters Annually

The Coca-Cola Company announced it has developed and tested a first-of-its-kind system for recovering water from its commercial bottling process for reuse in non-product activities such as bottle washing.

By reusing, rather than treating and discharging the water used in bottling facilities, Coke says it could improve water use efficiency by up to 35 percent. If implemented across all Coke bottling plants, that would save as much as 100 billion liters of water annually.

The system, which was piloted in India and Mexico, takes process water that has already been treated to discharge standards and further treats it using a membrane bioreactor, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, ozonation, and ultraviolet disinfection. The result is water that meets and/or exceeds stringent drinking water standards, but is used only for facility operations, such as clean-in-place and bottle washing.

In the absence of global reuse standards for the food and beverage industry, Coke says it pursued a scientifically rigorous, widely applicable water recovery and reuse approach that will set precedent for the beverage industry by expanding the range of manufacturing processes that can benefit from water reuse.

The company says it is currently reviewing internal plans to rollout this technology to its bottling partners and align plans for implementation across bottling facilities in 2013 and beyond.

The International Water Association recognized the pilot project with the ‘Innovation in Small Projects Award’ at its Asia Pacific Regional Innovation Awards. The project also will be entered in the IWA Global Awards later this year.

Last month a group of 45 chief executive officers, representing a diverse range of global companies and regions, called on governments attending the Rio+20 Earth Summit to make global water security a top priority.

Bart King is a PR/marketing communications consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications. 

Bart King is the principal and founder of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. Follow him @bart_king and on LinkedIn.

[Read more about Bart King]

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