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.
At the start of 2017, Greif set a goal to achieve a 10 percent reduction in kilograms of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) discharged per metric ton of production from our mills, using a 2014 baseline of 1.47 kilograms of BOD per metric ton. For more information about our water consumption and performance metrics please see our 2016 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.