Water and Waste Management
Globally, drinking water is a very scarce but a vital resource. Even though this is not a problem in most areas where BioMar operates, we do affect the consumption of this scarce resource by purchasing raw materials that are responsible for considerable water consumption in the countries of origin. These countries are often in areas where water shortage is critical. We address this by sourcing raw materials with respect to international guidelines and certification schemes, in which responsible use of water has a high priority.
Water is used in almost all food manufacturing processes. The “water footprint” of a product is the quantity of water used in their production. A water footprint is made up of three types of water consumption known as blue, green and grey water footprints. The green water footprint is the volume of rainwater stored in soil that evaporates through crop growth.
The blue water footprint is the volume of freshwater taken from surface layers (lakes, rivers, reservoirs), while groundwater (aquifers) is used and not returned to the system it was withdrawn from. The largest share of global blue water footprint occurs in crop fields as a result of evaporation of irrigation water. The greywater footprint is the volume of water polluted as a result of production processes (industrial and agricultural) and wastewater from household water use. It is the volume of water required to dilute pollutants to such an extent that the water quality reaches acceptable levels.
As the world hurtles toward its urban future, the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW), one of the most important by-products of an urban lifestyle, is growing even faster than the rate of urbanization. In 2002, there were 2.9 billion urban residents who generated about 0.64 kg of MSW per person per day (0.68 billion tonnes per year). A decade later, these amounts increased to about three billion residents generating 1.2 kg per person per day (1.3 billion tonnes per year). By 2025, this will likely increase to 4.3 billion urban residents generating about 1.42 kg per person per day of MSW aggregating to 2.2 billion tonnes per year (World Bank, 2012).
As a part of life cycle thinking, BioMar supports the waste hierarchy view. The five stages of the hierarchy, ranking from the most favoured prevention via the three Rs (reuse, recycle and recover) to the disposal of waste, are implemented as part of the quality management system at all BioMar manufacturing plants, as well as covered in the ISO 14001 standard.