Namibia Brewers Ltd. is the first company to commit to building a commercial plant based on zero-emissions principles. Its flagship beer is Windhoek Lager, a premium, high-quality beer, which is a good seller in Botswana and South Africa. 40 different biochemical processes are being used in the plant to reuse everything: heat, water, solid waste, carbon dioxide. These processes will create 12 different products in addition to the beer. Water flows from the brewery into ponds designed for fish farming. Mushrooms grow on piles of spent grain from the fermentation process. Chickens feed on earthworms set loose in the grain.
In October 1992, Ecover, a small Belgian company that makes cleaning products (laundry powder, dishwashing liquid, car wax) from natural soaps and renewable raw materials, opened a near-zero-emissions factory. A grass roof keeps the plant cool in summer and warm in winter. The water-treatment system runs on wind and solar energy.
Zero discharge was achieved in a pulp factory in Canada. Hydrological conditions was the forcing factor. The river is frozen in winter while in summer the flow is almost nil. The industry therefore had to be redesigned towards zero discharge. However, the price paid was an increase in solid waste.