Water conservation project
Our innovations at Sturminster Newton are a central part of our pledge to reduce water usage by 10% Group wide.
By re-assessing how we use this valuable resource on site, we have not only exceeded our reduction target at Sturminster Newton, but provided a blueprint for the future.
When we purchased the Sturminster Newton site in 2009, we could see that the whole plant was in need of modernisation.
We saw that modernisation as a huge opportunity to implement the systems to deliver on our 2020 sustainability targets.
Our aim was to establish a best-in-class facility where we could test new technologies and practices that could have Group wide significance. We paid special attention to reducing the amount of water used during carcass processing, and on site as a whole.
Our first step was a careful analysis of exactly how we used water in our day-to-day operations. We invested in water metres for each of our four different water streams, examined the data, and then put in place clear and challenging KPIs for each one.
However, in order to meet these KPIs we knew we had to implement major new process efficiencies.
We installed high pressure/low volume washers that are able to provide the necessary cleanliness with the absolute minimum water usage; we created a rainwater harvesting system that could be filtered and treated for the washing of livestock vehicles, and we introduced the very latest in heat exchange technology to optimise water temperature.
We also pioneered an industry first, implementing a reverse osmosis process that is able to produce portable water from the existing treated waste water arising on site.
But perhaps most importantly, we educated every one of the on-site team about what we were trying to achieve, the value of water efficiencies, and the importance of Sturminster Newton as a leading light in ABP’s Group wide sustainability targets.
The combined effects of these changes, at both process and staff levels, have delivered striking results.
From averaging a consumption of between 1,000 to 3,000 litres of water used per carcass, we’ve have been able to reduce that by 350 to 400 litres per carcass.
This equates to an approximate reduction of between 13% to 35% – good going by any standard, and already comfortably beyond our Group wide 2020 pledge.
Thanks to the rainwater harvesting system, almost 10% of the water used on site is now recycled, while the industry-first reverse osmosis system has meant that Sturminster Newton is consistently recycling about 20% of all of its waste water.
Both measures have significantly reduced the site’s reliance on new water supply, and their successes are already in the process of being established at other similar facilities.
Furthermore, we are also seeing the results of communicating our aims at staff level too; of getting each and every member of the team engaged with our sustainability ethos. For example, rather than allowing the 90 degree sterilisers to run all day and lose hot water, the Sturminster team proactively manage them to ensure they only contain the minimum temperature to function effectively.
The bottom line
Water is a precious resource – and everything that we have put in place at Sturminster Newton aims to reflect that.
We want this site to be seen as a microcosm of how we will operate across the whole group by 2020: efficient, conscientious and fully equipped for a truly sustainable future.