Sustainable Living: How Corporations are Creating Sustainable Water Systems and Taking Action to Reduce Waste
Free enterprise has spawned some horrific corporate environmental neglect but now, with more mainstream pressure on going green, change is in the air. Clean, available water is a major player in whether or not sustainable living can be achieved and at the rate it’s being squandered, there is major cause for concern. Fortunately, as a result of governmental, financial and consumer demands, many corporations are creating sustainable water systems and taking action to reduce waste.
Corporate Water Stewardship
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has developed a Corporate Water Stewardship (CWS). This is an organization which helps companies and their investors understand the impact of their water footprint. One part of the CWS mission reads, “Take internal actions to address their impact and contribute to the responsible, sustainable management of freshwater resources that are critical to business operations.” This sustainable living support includes local watershed conservation; being involved in efforts to govern better basin distribution and advancing the global dialogue on freshwater issues.
One way to reduce waste is to clean and reuse wastewater. A company out of Boston called Cambrian Innovation uses a technology walled EcoVolt, which is a bioelectric process that not only cleans wastewater but produces biogas energy at the same time. Cambrian is also adding to sustainable living solutions by using their microbial fuel cell technology called BioVolt. New Scientist Magazine describes this as bacteria that metabolizes organic material in waste water which “in one day can convert 2250 litres of sewage into enough clean water for at least 15 people. Not only that, it generates the electricity to power itself – plus a bit left over.”
Green Suds and Digestion
Beer manufacturers use approximately six barrels of water to produce one barrel of beer. Now, every major brand is following the example of Miller Coors and Molson Coors Brewing Companies. Between 2011 and 2013 they achieved using 3.48 barrels of water, almost cutting in half the usual six barrels and saving approximately 1.1 billion gallons of water within two years’ time. Many beer companies as well as other business models are also utilizing anaerobic digestion which is described by the American Biogas Council as, “a series of biological processes in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. One of the end products is biogas, which is combusted to generate electricity and heat, or can be processed into renewable natural gas and transportation fuels.” Anaerobic digestion just may be the future of sustainable living energy solutions for both residential and commercial applications.
Not Always the Bad Guy
Most would consider soda and chemical companies low on the scale of organizations making a difference with what they produce. While these and other companies like to stick around, they might as well carry their own weight. Two such examples would be Coca-Cola Co. and Dow Chemical Co.
The New York Times reported that, “Coca-Cola uses roughly 300 billion liters [of water] each year to produce about 160 billion liters of “finished beverages”. Coca-Cola Co. announced in 2007 that they would return the 160 billion liters back to the environment and communities by 2020. At the end of 2015, they reached their goal five years early, making a really positive imprint on sustainable living environments.
Dow Chemical has a hand in the production of so many products, you’re probably using some form as you read these words. Yet, with approximately 15 million gallons of water used per minute (that’s not a typo), Dow is a giant resource gobbler. Therefore, this company has taken responsibility by creating its own water division which practices reverse osmosis and nano-filtration membrane technologies, as well as ion exchange processing resins. These are all ways to conserve, filter, and reuse water without relying on excessive fossil fuels.
Creating sustainable water systems and reducing waste takes innovative applications that go beyond linear thinking. Embracing these sustainable living formulas is a macrocosm of what the future holds when it comes to mainstream utilization. Join us today and become a visible partner in our global sustainable community. For more information, please visit our website to read more articles about ways to enhance your eco-friendly choices.