As part of PepsiCo’s mission to deliver Performance with Purpose, nearly 93% of the total waste generated by PepsiCo-owned manufacturing facilities in 2013 was put to beneficial use. In Brazil, the São Mateus facility that produces Kero Coco coconut water is recycling rinse water and turning coconut husks, a by-product of the coconut-water manufacturing process, into mulch and fertilizer.

Here’s a peek at the process:

1. Rinse Water Is Recycled
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As coconuts enter the processing facility, they are washed to remove dirt from the fields. The nutrient-rich water is then treated and used to irrigate coconut plants at an adjacent farm.

2. Coconut Husks Are Converted To Mulch
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After the coconut water is extracted, empty husks ride a conveyor belt to a crushing machine. Every part of the husks are converted into mulch.

3. Coconut Mulch Returns To The Farm
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The crushed husks are transported to a coconut farm and then scattered around the trees. 

Reaping The Benefits

“The use of crushed coconut husks as mulch reduces the amount of water used for agricultural purposes,” said Marcelo Zanetti, agrobusiness manager at PepsiCo Brazil. “The coconut husks are especially helpful when you have sandy soil like our coconut provider in São Mateus. The crushed husks absorb water and help retain it in the soil.”

According to a study conducted by DeltaCO2 for PepsiCo, using crushed coconut husks as mulch reduces the amount of water needed for irrigation by approximately 60%. The study also found that farmers using the coconut mulch reduced their chemical fertilizer and herbicide use by 52% and 50%, respectively.

“The crushed husks are high in potassium, which is essential for coconut cultivation,” said Zanetti. “As a groundcover, it helps to reduce the need for chemicals for weed control and diesel to run the machines that are used to disperse these chemicals.”

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Learn more about PepsiCo’s innovative approaches like these by downloading the company’s 2013 Sustainability Report.