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In England, Bakkavor uses recycled water for washing salad leaves!

Posted on 01 March 2016.

The food group approached Veolia to improve its water footprint by using recycled water in its production chain - a first in the UK!

Washing salad leaves with potable recycled water is the basis of the partnership between Tilmanstone Salads (Bakkavor Group) and Veolia.

Contrary to popular belief, water is a scarce resource in the UK and London is drier than Istanbul! Not surprisingly, drinking water and sewage treatment are a national priority.

This is especially true in the food industry - the biggest industry in the UK with 7,000 companies employing around 500,000 people. Among them is the food group Bakkavor, specializing in fresh produce.

Its subsidiary Tilmanstone Salads produces ready to use salads and vegetables in east Kent near Dover.

In July 2011, Bakkavor approached Veolia with the aim of reducing the site’s environmental impact and its water consumption.

Since then as part of a 10 year partnership Veolia has implemented a turnkey solution to optimize water consumption by recycling wastewater into potable water and reintroducing it into the food production chain.

It’s the first time that recycled water has been used in the food industry in the UK. The process commissioned in November 2012 reintroduces 72% of the site’s recycled wastewater into the production chain.

The Tilmanstone Salads site now meets the strictest drinking water standards. Veolia developed a nano-filtration and disinfection system which reduced its water footprint for salad washing by 75%. And the positive spinoff is that more potable water is available locally – enough to supply 5,000 homes.

In 2015 the retail giant Marks & Spencer rewarded the Bakkavor Group for its initiative by designating it "Supplier Group of the Year".