Atlanta—Coca-Cola has developed and tested an innovative beverage process water recovery system to produce high-quality water for use in non-product processes.
The system expands the range of manufacturing applications for recovered process water and sets precedent for conservation and reuse in the beverage industry, according to the soft drink giant.
The water quality meets and/or exceeds drinking water standards, Coca-Cola claims, and is used for bottle washing, among other non-product applications.
By reusing the water used in bottling facilities, the company said it can reduce operational water needs and improve water use efficiency by up to 35 per cent.
“Because responsible water management is at the heart of a sustainable future, overcoming today’s water challenges calls for extraordinary action,” Coca-Cola chief sustainability officer Bea Perez said in a statement. “We’ve assumed an active role in advancing innovation that conserves and sustainably manages water resources for the benefit of all.”
In the absence of global reuse standards for the food and beverage industry, Coca-Cola “pursued a scientifically rigorous, widely applicable water recovery and reuse approach.”
The system takes highly treated process water and further treats it using proven, state-of-the-art technologies, including biological treatment in a membrane bioreactor, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, ozonation and ultraviolet disinfection.
In the Coca-Cola system alone, this new water reuse approach could save as much as 100-billion litres of water annually if implemented across all bottling plants.
Coca-Cola is currently reviewing internal plans to roll out this technology to its bottling partners and align plans for implantation across bottling facilities in 2013 and beyond.
The technology has been recognized with the ‘Innovation in Small Projects Award’ by the International Water Association (IWA) at its Asia Pacific Regional Innovation Awards.
The project will also be entered in the IWA Global Awards later this year.