Water is life. At Greif, we believe each of us has the responsibility to conserve this precious resource and protect where it comes from.
According to the World Health Organization, water scarcity affects one in three people on every continent of the globe. Due to population growth, urbanization and increases in household and industrial uses, global demand for water will keep rising.
We recognize the importance of access to fresh water and the need to effectively manage water discharges at our operations. We are committed to using water responsibly. Our paper mills in Riverville, Virginia and Massillon, Ohio in North America account for more than 90 percent of our global water footprint. These plants closely monitor water consumption and discharge.
At any given time, our Massillon, Ohio, paper mill may circulate between 750,000 and one million gallons of water, with only about 10 percent discharged to a publicly owned treatment works daily.
With a long-term commitment to natural resources and to our communities, our Riverville, Virginia, paper mill treats and returns nearly all water it draws from the nearby waterway, conserving and protecting a local natural resource. For more information about our water consumption, please see our 2015 Sustainability Report.
In 2009, we extended our water consumption reduction efforts to outside of our operations. Greif subsidiary, EarthMinded™ Consumer Products, was formed to develop environmentally responsible products with two goals:
- Help people conserve scarce resources such as water and
- Manufacture products in a responsible manner with a focus on using recycled content and reducing scrap and energy
EarthMinded Consumer Products developed a line of rainwater harvesting products to enable families to effortlessly capture rainwater flowing through their downspouts that would typically be lost into storm drains and sewer systems. This reduces water consumption, and in many cases, lessens the stress on municipal water treatment facilities.
Water Catchment and Transport Systems for Underdeveloped Regions and Disaster Zones
In 2011, we took a technology developed by our Flexible Products &Services business, large collapsible water containers, to one of the poorest areas of Haiti near Lake Azuei. Working with partners Operation Blessing and Caribbean Harvest, we created structures for rain catchment. Serving as tanks, the flexible containers can each hold 2,500 liters of rainwater collected from the roof, helping to provide water for non-potable uses to this community living in extreme poverty.
Greif developed the packH2O™ backpack, an easy-to-carry means of transporting and storing household water. Collapsible, sanitary and suitable for use either on the back or head, the packH2O™ backpack offers relief to women and children around the world.
By the end of 2015, this life-altering backpack could be found in 35 countries on five continents. By working through non-governmental organizations such as Habitat for Humanity International, Operation Blessing, Partners In Health and Partners for Care, Greif has ensured delivery of more than 200,000 water backpacks to regions where water must be transported by foot from source to home. They have also been delivered to disaster-prone regions for use in emergencies when access to safe water is disrupted for periods of time. For more information about Greif's work with the packH2O water backpack, go to the packH2O section.
For information about how to purchase backpacks and support the distribution of the packH2O, go to packH2O.com.