Blog Action Day, a yearly event for bloggers to spread awareness of important global issues, is concentrating on the topic of Water in 2010. 1-800-RECYCLING.com is proud to participate in its second Blog Action Day, focusing on water reuse and conservation issues. Raising a glass to the end of the work week with a tall, cool, frosty H2O doesn’t quite generate the same celebratory vibe as knocking back a couple of glasses of wine or beer. Until someone figures out how to duplicate that old familiar buzz using hydrogen and oxygen molecules, alcohol will likely remain the winner of the beverage popularity game. Still, certain social situations dictate conducting oneself with an absolutely lucid mind and demeanor, so fortunately, caffeine and sugar-enhanced liquids are also on the scene to pick up the slack. Whatever your personal liquid vice, all of it requires plain old water to come to fruition. The exact volume necessary to manufacture today’s most popular drinks, however, varies quite significantly depending on the type. It’s not as simple as using several hundred gallons of water during the beer brewing process or diligently hydrating grape vines in the field. If you consider the entire scope of production — farming the raw materials necessary to flavor our beverages, converting them into liquid form, packaging the final product and shipping it to global destinations — liquid refreshment in countless incarnations ends up generating a sizable eco-footprint. If you’re eager to streamline your personal water consumption, you might want to take a cold, hard look at the beverages crammed in your refrigerator. Unless you’re guzzling straight from the stream or whipping up your own DIY recipes, chances are pretty good that you’re slurping something with a hefty energy and water footprint.
The same 45 gallons of water that are typically used to refine one full gallon of crude oil are also necessary to produce just one measly glass of orange juice, yielding a 170-liter water footprint per typical 200-milliliter portion. Ninety-nine percent of the water footprint associated with Coca-Cola’s two main orange juice brands, Simply Orange Florida and Minute Maid Original, is due to the hydration requirements of plantations.
Approximately 50.19 gallons of water go into one 200-milliliter glass of apple juice at a water footprint of around 190 liters per 200-milliliter portion.
One hundred thirty-two gallons of water are used to produce one 2-liter bottle of soda, a figure that includes the hydration necessary to cultivate notoriously thirsty raw sugarcane and sugar beet crops. Coca-Cola wants consumers to know, however, that if you focus specifically on how much water they use in the factory, they’ve streamlined it to slightly more than 1 gallon for each 2-liter container it produces (which is a 3.5% reduction compared to two years ago).
It takes roughly 35 gallons of water to ultimately produce one stinkin’ cup of coffee, a number that lends credence to the finding that the water footprint of coffee is “more than three times that of beer.” Perhaps this figure will boggle your mind even further: To yield 1 pound of roasted coffee beans, 2,522 gallons of water is necessary (or one drop of coffee uses 1,100+ drops of water).
The large majority of the water utilized in the beer industry is channeled toward the cultivation of agricultural resources such corn, hops and barley, sometimes as much as 95% (as is the case with SABMiller, the manufacturer of such popular brands as Miller Lite, Pilsner Urquell and Peroni). The beer maker recently determined that each liter of brew that it produces is responsible for consuming 41 gallons (155 liters) of H2O.
Blog Action Day: Water Footprint of the Top Beverages
Your morning java or happy hour glass of wine may not seem like much, but it takes a lot more water than you’d think to fill that cup or glass.