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Envirowise has announced that almost 500,000m3 of water has already been saved by food and drink manufacturers as a result of the voluntary Federation House Commitment (FHC) on water efficiency.

The 36 manufacturers, reporting on their first full-year progress on the FHC, saved the equivalent of nearly 200 Olympic swimming pools.

This marks the sector’s first step towards achieving a 20 per cent reduction in water use by 2020 compared with 2007, working with Envirowise, which jointly launched the initiative with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) in January 2008.

Companies including Cranswick Food Group, Dairy Crest, Greenvale AP, Mars UK, RandR Ice Cream, United Biscuits, Walkers, and William Jackson Food Group have contributed to a collective reduction in water use of 1.7 per cent during 2008.

Together signatories will have saved almost GBP500,000 in the purchase of water alone, not including the cost of water treatment and effluent disposal.

Andrew Kuyk, director of sustainability and competitiveness at the FDF, said: ‘The food and drink manufacturing sector is a significant water user and has an important role to play in helping to reduce stress on the nation’s water supplies.

‘While there is still much to be done to achieve the 20 per cent by 2020 target, we are delighted to see FHC members already making a positive impact on the environment.’
Water-saving measures being implemented by FHC members include improving water recovery and re-use, rainwater harvesting, cleaning-in-place and dry cleaning operations – as well as domestic changes such as fitting more efficient taps and toilets.

Claire Sweeney, water specialist at Envirowise, added: ‘The opportunities for water saving range from simple low-cost solutions through to those that require capital investment and greater lead-in times – offering benefits over the longer term.

‘We’d be delighted to hear from other food and drink manufacturers keen to get involved in the FHC to share in the best practice and make savings.’


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