At issue is the water resulting from the process of evaporation of milk for the manufacture of dairy products, and the discharge from cleaning equipment.
For this purpose, AQUANTIS technology has been used, a biological membrane reactor developed by Spanish company Veolia, which allows treatment of effluent, to obtain water free from solids.
The water is then passed to a reverse osmosis stage which retains dissolved salts and solids, resulting in treated water of drinking quality.
The project, named by Nestlé as "Zero Water", allows this treated water to be reused in processes that are not directly in contact with milk production, for example in cooling towers, for cleaning processes or for irrigation, which creates zero consumption of overall network water.
Helping water stresses
In 2014, when Nestlé inaugurated its NIDO child nutrition formula plant in Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, it noted the plant would have an overall zero water consumption.
Nestlé worked with Veolia Water Technologies to reduce water consumption at the plant, which is located in an area that suffers from water stress and diminishing resources, thanks in part to the climate, but also to the increasing population over the past 60 years.
The Lagos de Moreno complex consists of three plants, which make NIDO, ice cream, and cereals.
The dairy water project is being implemented by Nestlé worldwide, starting with factories located in areas with water stress, such as South Africa, Pakistan, India and China.
Jim Knill, head of Nestlé dairy operations, said, "Two years ago, we were told that this could not be done, for economic and technical reasons. Now, this project is going to be implemented all over the world."