|dc.description.abstract||South Africa is a water stressed country with an increasing demand for water. Pressure is being
exerted by greater pollution loads and reduced flows in the rivers. Environmental legislation is
therefore, becoming more stringent, in order to reduce environmental degradation and promote
sustainable development. The soft drink industry in South Africa is a major water user and polluter.
The primary objective of this thesis is to reduce the environmental impact of a soft drink factory.
The study was conducted at a soft drink company located in the South African province of
KwaZulu-Natal. This company had been experiencing trade effluent charges in excess of R 70 000
per month as well as additional fines being levied by the local municipality, due to the effluent
being consistently out of specification with respect to Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) and sugar
concentration. The scope of the study has therefore, been defined to focus on the reduction of
effluent strength and sugar content, hence reducing the environmental impact.
The various concepts or tools to achieve sustainable development were investigated and the
Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) assessment methodology combined with the
methodology to achieve materials efficiency were utilised in order to provide recommendations to
solve the effluent issue at the soft drink plant. The RECP procedure follows a five phase approach
of planning and organisation, pre-assessment, assessment, feasibility analysis and implementation
and continuation. The methodology to achieve materials efficiency uses a 3 step approach of
drawing a material flowchart, creating a material balance and generating options.
The sources of the effluent were identified and quantified and the factors influencing the quantity
and quality of the effluent from these sources investigated. It was found that the primary COD
causing component is sucrose. Approximately 11.4% of the identified losses occurred as a result
of staff negligence or a lack of staff training, while other losses were due to easily rectifiable
technological shortcomings, or were unavoidable. Solutions were developed in the categories of
source elimination or reduction and end-of-pipe treatment. End-of-pipe treatment options were
only considered if source elimination and reduction techniques could not be implemented. A
feasibility analysis from an environmental aspect yielded the optimum solution to be a combination
of source elimination and reduction techniques and one of the end-of-pipe treatments. The
end-of-pipe treatment entails the transporting of high strength effluent to a nearby co-digestion
facility, where energy will be produced in the form of methane. The implementation of this
optimum solution has the potential to reduce the COD load of the effluent by 10 583 kg
COD/month which is 85% of the identified losses. Various other recommendations were
developed to reduce the water consumption and hence decrease the volume of effluent to drain.||en_US