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Water: Lettuce leads the way

[United States]

On the agenda

Massive water savings in lettuce production.

Action > reaction

With its broad leaves to wash, lettuce consumes a lot of water before it makes it onto a plate. If we used a bit less water for each head of lettuce, could we achieve big savings to preserve this limited resource? That was the question colleagues set out to answer in Florence, New Jersey. The results attained in one year exceeded everyone's expectations.

130 million liters in savings

We should not go overboard, but water consumption has already been reduced 25% for lettuce!

The process was to identify the existing potential waste points, measure them and implement solutions. The plant pursued two main strategies: education and replacing manual controls with automated controls.

The cherry on top: monetary savings

Because water is not free, the material savings also resulted in financial savings (40% of the water cost per kilogram of lettuce produced, with the water rates having been negotiated). In one year, the plant was able to keep $350,000 in its coffers. This virtuous circle is destined to encourage other sites and other branches to replicate the process.

Greener, but not more expensive 

For businesses that implement large-scale sustainable development practices, the issue of money always comes up. Will it cost us more to do it right? The fear is common and it often prevents companies from taking the next step. Yet, in reality, many sustainable development practices are more economical in financial terms. Consider, for example, all the strategies related to saving resources: energy and water are two major categories to improve from an ecological point of view, but they can also amount to handsome sums of money not spent!

Water: Lettuce leads the way
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