Eco-friendly people always talk about saving water, but there are many ways that we use water every single day without knowing. Watering your lawn less, cleaning your teeth more effectively and using less water in a shower are just a few ways that we have become conscious of our water usage, but do you know that just wearing clothes uses water?


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It’s a good idea to give some thought to the indirect water usage that is contributing to potential drought problems all around the world. Here are some examples.

1. What does your car weigh?

For every ton of steel used to make your vehicle, over 30,000 gallons of water has been used to manufacture the metal. Another 13 gallons of water is used to help produce each gallon of petrol that goes into your vehicle. Where you believe that using a bicycle will reduce your impact on the environment, it still takes over 500 gallons of water to make a standard bicycle and you’ll consume more water while you’re riding because of the hard work, compared to the time you would have spent in a car, though the bicycle will be better for fitness.

2. Your computer uses water

Computer production involves the use of large quantities of water from the manufacture of microchips all the way through to the casing. While you still need batteries or electricity to run your computers, it takes around 1500 gallons of water to make a desktop computer. And the water that you use to wash 70 loads of laundry in a washing machine, is equivalent to the amount of water used to make a laptop computer.

3. Email uses water

While we are supposed to be working and living in a paperless society, many people still print out their emails and bank statements when they are online. While the actual usage of paper should reduce, it still takes over 1000 gallons of water to make a pound of paper.

4. Fast food requires water

A small swimming pool that contains around 1500 gallons of water is equal to the amount of water used to produce the standard fast food meal of a hamburger, chips and a drink. It takes around 55 gallons of water to bring you a standard cup of coffee from a high street coffee shop, where most of the water is used to grow the coffee beans.

5. Turning on the lights uses water

Any of the fossil fuelled nuclear facilities that are used to produce electricity, consume a large volume of water to cool the operation. Without cooling, the facilities would fail to work and wouldn’t produce electricity. It’s also strange to think that you have used a few gallons of water before you turn on your new large flat screen television.

6. Wearing clothes consumes water

Almost 3% of the world’s water is used to produce cotton. All of the fabrics that are used to make our clothing require the use of water at some stage during the manufacturing procedure.  The majority of the water is used during the dyeing process and this applies equally when the clothing is made from polyester, nylon or cotton.

However much we try and save water that we can physically see, no one has much control over the water that is used to manufacture the products before we receive and use them.

Damien Higgins tries to be environmentally conscious and save money. He writes for Eden Springs.

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