JBS Rockhampton pioneers water saving technology

Beef Central, 14/12/2023

JBS Australia’s Rockhampton beef processing plant is pioneering water saving initiatives which are being recognised globally by the JBS Group for their innovation and effectiveness.

The Rockhampton facility has been a leader in developing new technologies and processes that have resulted in permanent and ongoing major water reductions.

Over the past decade, a widespread cultural shift towards responsible water use has resulted in a notable reduction in water consumption across the plant.

In 2022 automated water sensors were installed at the site as part of JBS’s global commitment to reduce the company’s water consumption by 15pc by 2025. Since then, the plant has saved a total of 50kL of water per day (the equivalent of 14 Olympic swimming pools saved each year).

Another initiative pioneered at Rockhampton was the development of a dual knife steriliser system. This system hosts a dual compartment containing sterile (82C) water that continuously flows from one decontamination unit to another.

This system efficiently uses overflow water and saves 5kL of water daily, and was delivered for less than $900. With heating only required for one steriliser unit rather than two, the system also saves energy and emissions.

Other initiatives rolled out at Rockhampton include recycling and reuse of water in areas where it is safe to do so, water pressure reduction and improved cleaning efficiencies through dry-cleaning and a focus on minimising water waste.

More recently, meters were installed at seven standard points at the site as part of a rollout at nine JBS Australia red meat processing facilities. Using benchmark data obtained from these meters, JBS Australia is reviewing opportunities to further reduce water consumption.

Major initiatives and water savings are shared with the industry group – the Australian Meat Processor Corporation – to help build industry knowledge on water saving opportunities.

The metering project and others amounted to an investment of $2 million in water measurement and innovation by JBS Australia in 2022.

JBS Australia chief executive Brent Eastwood said as Australia enters another El Niño event, it was critical to keep investing in water efficiency measures.

“The team at our Rockhampton plant has made a conscious and proactive effort over the last decade to change the way they work and use water,” he said.

“This cultural change has resulted in material water savings at the site, demonstrating our shared commitment to sustaining our invaluable water resources, and has also been recognised by our global company as one of the best in the world.”

JBS Australia’s group manager for sustainability, Sam Churchill, said the team at Rockhampton had played a leading role, globally.

“Rockhampton is an example of how a plant can make a small change to the way it operates but have a big impact on environmental outcomes and our goal of reducing water consumption by 15pc by 2025,” Mr Churchill said.

“Water stewardship is increasingly important across JBS Australia’s operations. Across our facilities the company has saved a total of 735 million litres or more than 295 Olympic swimming pools of water, so far this year.”

Rockhampton plant manager Anthony Milzewski said the water metering success was credited to the commitment and ingenuity of the entire Rockhampton team.

“Our water program depends on technology, but also behavioural change of our team members across our organisation. This trial is a fantastic example of how technology can inform new ways of working and support our people in making a real impact.”

The Rockhampton plant was established in 1965 and produces a wide range of grassfed beef products for Australian and international customers. The plant employs more than 500 people.


Source: JBS




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