To hear your standard environmentalist tell it, we’re well on our way to a perpetually parched world. True, freshwater is a precious commodity, and much of it gets wasted, but a number of private companies are finding new ways to streamline processes that save water—and thus to save money as well. The BBC reports:
Nestle USA’s pizza division factory in Little Chute, Wisconsin […] has teamed up with GE Water to reduce its water usage in its cooling towers. […B]y applying GE’s advanced water-treatment chemical technology to the plant’s cooling towers, the factory has been able to use re-use its water to a much greater degree – saving some 7.4 million gallons of water and reducing sewer discharges by the same amount.
And another example, this time in saving wastewater in the food and beverage industry:
Treating food and beverage wastewater can still leave an unpleasant by-product called ‘sludge’. It costs money to dispose of, not to mention creates greenhouse gases. […] But US firm Nutrinsic has come up with a novel solution – turning the nutrients in factory wastewater into quality animal feed. […] The plant reduces expenses while Nutrinsic benefits financially from sales of the feed.
In their quests to improve their bottom lines, businesses sometimes pursue efficiency gains that also benefit the environment. Economic growth and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive goals, but rather can work in tandem. Green policies can be more effectively implemented if promoted in the context of the savings they provide, rather than some platonic ideal of unsullied nature.The modern green movement chooses to focus on instances in which development has marred our environment, but that myopic world view neglects to acknowledge humanity’s ability to find solutions to these problems.