Making Nescafé involves extracting a coffee liquor from roast coffee beans, then drying off the water to make the familiar coffee granules.
For our Nescafé factory in Gympie in Queensland, making the equivalent of 230 cups of coffee every second, this meant we faced the problem of using a lot of water.
Once used, the water was seen as waste, and left the site for treatment. But when we began to rethink the potential for this used water to become a resource, we found a way to significantly reduce how much we use.
And that’s so important here in Gympie, where water is never far from our minds. The town has lurched from drought to massive floods.
From waste to resource
In mid-2023, we installed a $2 million state-of-the-art water treatment system that allows us to recycle the wastewater on-site and re-use it in our cooling towers.
The new treatment system means we’re reducing the amount of water we use by around 45 million litres of water each year – enough to fill about 18 50-metre swimming pools. That’s around 20 per cent less than we used to use.
By reducing the amount of water we use, we’re reducing pressure on local water supplies, especially during drier seasons.
Reducing our environmental impact
This project builds on initiatives we’ve already implemented to help improve our environmental footprint, including:
- Using 100% responsibly sourced coffee beans for our Nescafé products, verified by an independent, external certifier, such as Rainforest Alliance or 4C,
- Sourcing 100% renewable electricity generated from wind power,
- Harnessing the power of renewable energy sources like spent coffee grounds and local sawdust waste to generate the steam needed to make Nescafé and eliminating coffee waste to landfill, and
- Reducing waste across our whole site, so now zero waste from Gympie factory goes to landfill.
Respect for the future
I’m really proud of our sustainability efforts here at Nestlé and the way our team strives to constantly reduce our impact.
One of the reasons I first wanted to become an engineer was to be able to make a difference. The work we do can be quite challenging, however being part of a company with values rooted in respect for the future of our planet and future generations makes the work we do all the more worthwhile.