As the dairy industry continues to look for innovative ways to save money, multinational dairy cooperative Fonterra is using a creative application of existing filtration technology to capture and extract lactose previously left in its waste stream. The New Zealand company—the country’s largest—is investing $8 million in an upgrade at its Edgecumbe plant that will both reduce the company’s dependence on lactose from overseas and deliver significant cost savings.

Fonterra Director, New Zealand Manufacturing, Mark Leslie says the upgrade will play a vital role in the cooperative’s ability to provide high-quality milk powder to the world. “Lactose is used mainly in standardizing milk powder, and the additional volumes of lactose we’re now able to capture will be essential in supplying the new dryer opening soon in Lichfield—one of our most strategically important builds,” Leslie explains.

Not only will the upgrade generate savings for the cooperative, by removing even more solids from the site’s wastewater, it will also reduce Fonterra Edgecumbe’s environmental footprint. “Important to Fonterra is our commitment to creating a more sustainable dairy industry. As with any project we undertake, reducing our emissions and our environmental impacts is one of the first considerations,” Leslie says.