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Fruit & Vegetable Processing - Reducing Water & Wastewater Costs

Fruit & Vegetable Processing - Reducing Water & Wastewater Costs

Implementing changes that reduce the costs associated with water and wastewater in fruit and vegetable processing can have a positive impact on businesses operating in this sector at both an environmental and economic level.

This good practice guide deals with the reduction of water and wastewater treatment costs in the fruit and vegetable processing industry.

The UK’s fruit and vegetable industry generates significant amounts of waste water, wasted raw material and packaging. Implementing a systematic waste minimisation programme can reduce waste costs by up to 25%. This can represent 1% of business turnover. These savings can often be achieved by changes in good housekeeping practices and by implementing no-cost and low-cost measures resulting in immediate savings or payback periods of less than two years.

Reducing water and effluent charges

The industry uses large quantities of water, most of which leaves factories as trade effluent. Water supply costs and trade effluent charges are expected to continue to rise. Reducing water consumption and minimising effluent strength and volume therefore make good business sense. Measures to reduce water use can often achieve a 20 - 50% reduction in water-related costs and make a valuable contribution to any waste minimisation programme.

This good practice guide is concerned with fruit and vegetable processing after harvesting and how companies can save money by reducing, re-using and recycling waste. It does not give information on waste disposal, energy efficiency and agricultural practices.

Reduce, re-use and recycle

The guide describes practical measures to eliminate, reduce, re-use and recycle waste and gives advice on how to eliminate waste through effective conservation of produce. Industry Examples throughout the guide illustrate how fruit and vegetable processing companies have already saved money by implementing a systematic approach to waste minimisation.

Contents of the guide

The guide explains how to:

  • produce process maps and prepare an overall mass balance;
  • identify sources of waste;
  • calculate the true cost of waste;
  • look for opportunities to reduce water and waste costs;
  • implement a systematic waste minimisation programme;
  • continue to improve your environmental performance.

Preventing waste in the first place, i.e. before value is added to your product, will give the greatest savings. However, significant cost savings and environmental benefits can still be achieved by reducing, re-using and recycling waste. Remember, any reduction in water and waste costs will go straight to your bottom line... request a copy of the full document >>

Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.

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