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Raising the Water Sustainability Stakes for the Beverage Industry

The importance of sustainability has never been greater, and the pressure is firmly on all manufacturers to reduce their impact on the environment and reach net zero. Water reduction, reuse and recycling is at the center of this to protect the planet’s precious natural resource, as well as cut carbon emissions. James Leigh, Business Development Manager and disinfection expert, at Evoqua Water Technologies, looks at the key technology innovations helping the beverage industry make water sustainability a reality today. 

Making operations sustainable is business-critical today for the beverage industry. Not only do manufacturers have to cut emissions to reach net zero, but the majority of consumers demand that the brands they buy from prioritize the environment. Added to this, with energy costs spiraling and supply chain challenges widespread, reducing consumption across the board is a case of survival for most.  

For many businesses, increasing sustainability is viewed as an opportunity. When it comes to water management, organizations are looking to further optimize process efficiency, reduce and re-use water, save energy and minimize chemicals used for disinfection. This applies across the full water cycle of an organization, from considering the source of water through to process water, utility water treatment, clean in place (CIP) or surface cleaning and disinfection.  

Focussing on every area of water use is important, despite the fact it’s often water reduction that makes the headlines. For example, Coca-Cola has a target to reduce the amount of water it uses in manufacturing drinks in Great Britain by 20% by 2025 [1]. Nestle achieved a 2.39 million water use reduction in factories in 2021 (m3) [2]. Effective disinfection is key to water reduction as it enables re-use.  

Let’s focus on water disinfection here. One of the most effective, safe, simple and chemical-free disinfection methods is ozone technology. Ozone is one of the most powerful commercially available oxidizing and disinfecting agents. It works by ozone gas, via the venturi injector method of mass transfer, being mixed into the water stream creating a solution for disinfection or sanitization purposes. Once in a solution, it decomposes back to oxygen, leaving effectively no residuals in the waste or recirculation stream. 

Ozone technology, such as Evoqua’s Pacific Ozone™ Generator systems, supports sustainability through reducing chemical use, having low energy consumption, and providing opportunities for water re-use. For example, treating the last rinsing water and re-use for the first flush, or using ozonated water as cold CIP. The ability to recycle the water back to the beginning of a plant’s process for reuse can save significant amounts of water consumption. 

A second, chemical-free treatment technology is ultraviolet (UV) disinfection, which damages the DNA of microorganisms with photons. Evoqua’s ETS-UV™ Systems are effective against a wide range of micro-organisms including chlorine-tolerant pathogens, like Cryptosporidium. Importantly for beverage plants, UV technology creates no harmful by-products and does not introduce any poor taste or odor compounds to the liquid being treated.  

UV is a sustainability champion when it comes to disinfection, in fact, it’s one of the most sustainable disinfection solutions available today. It’s energy-efficient, reduces or eliminates chemical requirements and enables greater water re-use.  

Many plants are taking advantage of the benefits of using the two technologies together as part of a multi-barrier approach to disinfection. UV is a fantastic solution to remove all excess ozone from fluid. Both ozone and UV technologies from Evoqua are reliable and durable, further supporting organizations with sustainability initiatives as they have a longer life span.  

Today, it is those businesses that continue to embrace sustainability that will thrive as we move forwards. Water is a precious resource that we must all play our part in protecting and there are a wide range of opportunities to reach more advanced climate change commitments with water disinfection technology across all parts of the supply chain.  

To find out how disinfection technology can support water stewardship for your organization, contact Evoqua today. 




[1] https://www.coca-cola.co.uk/sustainability/water-and-environment/world-water-day

[2] https://www.nestle.com/sustainability/water/sustainable-water-efficiency-operations


Evoqua UV disinfection generator systems undergo third-party validation testing in accordance with the UVDGM (USEPA, 2006). Validated products are tested to confirm a minimum inactivation equivalent of 3 log (99.9%) for microorganisms in accordance with NSF/ANSI 50 and the UVDGM. Performance is not claimed nor implied for any product not yet validated; unvalidated products use single point summation calculations to provide delivered dose recommendations. Performance limitations depend on feed conditions, overall installed system design, and operation and maintenance processes; please refer to Operations Manuals. For more information: Contactus@evoqua.comOzone:

Evoqua Ozone Generation systems undergo factory acceptance testing to ensure they are capable of producing the desired ozone concentration, based on operational parameters outline in the Operating Manual. System performance of microorganism inactivation depends on the CT value, pH, and temperature of water. Performance limitations depend on feed conditions, overall installed system design, and operation and maintenance processes; please refer to Operations Manuals. For more information: Contactus@evoqua.com