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In Germany, the average person consumes 123 litres of water per day.
A human being can survive far longer without food than without water. But the world’s water reserves are limited According to UN estimates, the current global population of around 7.6 billion people will reach around 9.7 billion by 2050. This will result in a considerably higher demand for drinking water, which will increase the value of this precious commodity – which some are already referring to as “liquid gold”. The average German’s daily water consumption is around 123 litres 1, which represents a decrease compared to the 1990s. However, this figure does not include so-called “virtual water”, which is the water used in the production of products. To make an espresso, for example, requires about 50 litres of water. If this virtual water is included in the calculation, the average consumption of each German goes up to more than 4,000 litres per day 1.
An existential question for WALA
It is clear from these figures that the economical use of water is vital to our very survival. Ever since its beginnings, WALA has strived to operate sustainably in all areas – including its use of water. As outlined in the WALA Environmental Statement: “We include nature in all of our thoughts and actions, and we do so out of conviction.” Water is not only an essential ingredient in our WALA Medicines and Dr. Hauschka Skin Care products, we also use it for cleaning, steam sterilisation on the production lines, and in our sanitary facilities. “Wherever possible and viable, we use rainwater instead of valuable drinking water,” says our Environmental Officer Stefan Weiland. For all employees, brainstorming and identifying ways to be more economical is an ongoing task.
WALA places great importance on the careful use of resources and uses rainwater instead of drinking water wherever possible. For example, to water the WALA medicinal herb garden.
Rainwater over fresh water
WALA used a total of 63,872 cubic metres of water in 2018 – roughly 16,500 of which was rainwater. WALA collects precipitation in cisterns and uses it primarily to water its medicinal herb garden. “A few years ago, we built a new greenhouse and a cistern with a capacity of 300 cubic metres. This enables us to meet a good percentage of our plant irrigation requirements with rainwater – so long as the summer isn’t unusually dry like it was last year,” says Stefan Weiland. Sustainability is part of everyday life at WALA. As far as possible, the roofs of company buildings are planted with vegetation and rainwater is used to flush toilets or cool the outside of production facilities. In some cases, we even reuse this cooling water in the sanitary facilities.
Drinking water as an ingredient
But of course, the use of rainwater has its limits in a pharmaceutical company where the strictest health and hygiene standards must be observed. Only water of the highest quality is used to make our preparations. Environmental Officer Stefan Weiland explains: “Practically all of our products, especially the ampoules or aqueous formulations like toners, require sometimes large quantities of drinking water. The same applies to the cleaning of containers, pipes, vats or mixing systems.” And that’s not including the “exotics”, which is how Stefan Weiland refers to the process of steam sterilisation with large quantities of hot water.
Where else can we save?
WALA regards the search for further ways to save water as an ongoing task. Forward-looking production planning is one potential area. If, for example, several batches of the same preparation are produced one after the other, the system would not need to be cleaned in between. We have also been able to reduce water consumption by improving cleaning processes, for example by increasing pressure or temperatures. “The staff at WALA are very attentive and creative. We are all pursuing a common goal: To actively protect the environment, because it is the foundation required for nature, people and the world thrive. It also forms the very basis of our existence as a manufacturer of natural medicines and certified natural cosmetics.”
1 Source: German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW)
Born in Schramberg in 1962. Editorial traineeship at the Schwäbische Zeitung newspaper in Leutkirch, Ulm and Stuttgart. Subsequently editor (1984 to 1990) and executive editor as well as editor-in-chief of the Schwäbische Zeitung (1990 to 2004). Owner of communication and public relations agency ‘context.pr’ since 2004.