After reading the press release from the Musco Family Olive Company about their award for environmental initiatives, I wanted to look into more about what those initiatives are. Here are some of the Musco environmental initiatives as described on their website.
Musco recycles more than 90% of all its water in an innovative onsite recycling project, reusing the water for irrigation on its 180-acre farm. From 2002 to 2011, Musco has recycled almost 1.5 billion gallons onsite in our innovative closed loop system.
Mother Nature takes care of the remainder of the water (less than 10%) and evaporates it in double-lined evaporation ponds. 100% of Musco’s water is kept onsite and none is discharged into a river or the ocean.
NyPa is a unique, patented forage crop that is the result of more than 5 years of intense crop selection research.
Soil salinity is a major problem in the San Joaquin Valley, especially the west side where soils are naturally alkaline. The typical “solution” to growing a crop in these conditions is to plant salt–tolerant crops. NyPa forage takes this one step further.
Whereas salt-tolerant crops can live in these conditions, they do not remedy the salt situation. NyPa forage actively removes salt from the soil. The crop is harvested one or two times per year and sold as cattle feed, and salt is permanently removed from Musco’s closed loop system. Musco is proud to be the first food processor in the United States to utilize NyPa forage to address long–term issues like soil salinity.
Musco’s most recent initiative is our Renewable Energy and Wastewater System, or RenEWS. RenEWS is the only system like it in the world, where we take two previous “waste” streams and generate renewable energy while treating wastewater. We take our olive pits, which used to be “waste”, and we now burn them in our special RenEWS system. Around 15 tons of olive pits are burned each day, generating a substantial amount of heat energy. This heat is used to evaporate process water, and the steam generated during the evaporation process is used to drive the largest production steam engine in the United States. The one of a kind Eco-Pod further concentrates and evaporates leftover water from our processing boilers, resulting in a greatly reduced volume of wastewater. Significant investment in state-of-the-art emissions controls means this is the cleanest burning biomass plant in California.
Invented and built onsite, Musco is proud of the RenEWS system, and it underscores our commitment to stewardship and preserving our planet so generations to come can enjoy its natural beauty.
Diversion from Landfill and Beneficial Reuse
The cornerstone of Musco’s stewardship program is weekly management meetings where water, electricity, natural gas use, and waste are tracked and discussed. These meetings are central to the company culture and allow rapid response to out-of-the-ordinary situations. Diversion from landfill was the first of the “low-hanging fruit” that we tackled, and tackle it we did! We are very proud that we divert 98.5% of our waste from landfill, either through beneficial reuse on site or via off-site institutional recycling.”
May the sun shine through your branches.