Our manufacturing plants continue to focus on reducing their use of water. As a result, the manufacturing group was able to save 16 million gallons of water in 2015, which is equivalent to the yearly water usage of 110 American homes. This was accomplished through a focused effort using a variety of approaches including: better understanding of water flow, recycling water on pre-rinse, recirculating cooling water, improving rinse systems, replacing inefficient equipment, reprocessing rejected water from reverse osmosis plants, reducing water leaks, and improving condensate return systems. Many water conservation techniques can be linked directly to reduced energy consumption, resulting in even greater cost savings and reduced use of this natural resource.
We continue to seek water reduction opportunities in our retail locations. In response to severe drought conditions in California, Ralph's division has been implementing "smart" controllers on their water-cooled refrigeration condensers to reduce water consumption since the beginning of 2015. This, in tandem with their Stop the Drop awareness campaign, has resulted in an approximately 5% water savings across their division. Water waste can be a significant portion of water consumption, and these efforts target some of the biggest culprits such as cooling, landscape watering, and cleaning.