Reduction of and improvement in quality of waste water

Life would not exist without water. Water, which is essential for life, is very important. This is why it is absolutely essential for water to remain as clean as possible and for fresh water reserves to be protected. The Mibelle Group is playing its part.

  • Fat separation plant: the waste water from Nutrition has the fat and oil removed in a fat separator. This plant has undergone a total efficiency optimisation.

  • Fat separation effect: separated fat and oil is recycled as biofuel. Andreas Mosch (Process Services engineer) optimising parameters during recommissioning.

  • Waste water from the osmosis plant: waste water is produced when generating purified water for Production. Now this is no longer fed into the industrial waste water, but into the ground water, i.e. straight back into the natural cycle.

Manufacturing usually requires a lot of fresh water and the water which is fed into the cycle after use is contaminated with various substances. The Mibelle Group therefore aims to use as little fresh water as possible and to pipe away waste water which is contaminated as little as possible (free of products and raw materials). Mibelle Group employees have achieved clear ecological benefits with many individual solutions and success stories.

So says Arno Merki, head of Safety, Health and Environment at Mibelle AG: “We have already managed to reduce waste water volumes by more than 10,000 cubic metres per year. This year we are also cooperating with the North-western Switzerland University of Applied Sciences and Arts. We are researching how, despite rising production, we can further reduce our waste water volumes.

Mifa AG uses a special process to cut waste water volumes. “Production uses osmotic water. This is fresh water from which all undesirable substances have been filtered out. What remains is known as the “retenate”, which is piped to a special area on the works site separate from the other industrial waste water. The benefits are obvious. It can soak back into the ground there and so returns to the natural water cycle. The volume of waste water is reduced, which reduces the burden on the treatment plants and cuts waste water costs”, explains René Gerber, Mifa AG’s head, OP&SCM.

The abbreviation TOC (total organic carbon) represents a key topic where waste water is concerned. The TOC value represents the total organic carbon in waste water and is a measure of the waste water’s organic contamination with residues from cosmetics, detergents and cleaning products or food. The aim is to steadily reduce this TOC volume in waste water. Mifa AG has optimised various production stages for this purpose.

Patrick Bechtel, head of Process Services, provides details: “Between 2014 and 2015 we managed to reduce the TOC freight, based on the total weight of goods produced, by 2%. In waste water treatment for butter and margarine production we are optimising fat separation. By recycling the waste water in the buffer tank, for example, the waste water stays longer in the waste water purification system, which results in better separation of the fat from the waste water. In addition, in 2016 we implemented a pilot project on a filling line in Home Care production. This has helped us to significantly improve residue discharge through various measures, such as improved pipeline management, intelligent components (pumps and filters) and an integrated pig system (equipment to discharge residues from pipelines) and thus reduce TOC freight. One good side effect is that these measures also reduce the purification time required for high-foaming products.

Sustainability facts on reducing waste water and waste volumes at the Mibelle Group:

  • Parent company M Industry’s Zero Waste Vision aims to operate completely closed ecological cycles by 2040 at the latest and to achieve a 100% recycling rate.
  • Mifa AG aims to reduce the specific fresh water consumption (cubic metres of water per tonne of product, i.e. with regard to the weight of goods produced) by 11% (compared to 2010) by 2020.
  • Mifa AG has reduced specific waste water volumes (cubic metres of waste water per tonne of product) by more than 28% between 2010 and 2015.
  • Mibelle AG aims to reduce the specific fresh water consumption by 9% (compared to 2010) by 2020.
  • Mibelle AG has reduced specific waste water volumes (cubic metres of waste water per tonne of product) by more than 27% between 2010 and 2015.

Further details and sustainability facts on retentate and osmotic water at Mifa AG:

Production & Retail

Consumption & Recycling

Water & Soil

Efficient use of resources