Illustration for article titled It Takes a Hell of a Lot More Water Than You Think to Make Jeans, Burgers, Pizza and Other Stuff

Even though water covers nearly three-quarters of this blue dot of ours, most of that is salt water. We need freshwater to fuel the world. And freshwater is not as limitless as it seems, so wasting is it a no no. Here's how much water we use to make, well, the things we use.


The water footprint of products comes from Imagine All the Water, a site created by the European Commission:

  • Beef - 15,415 liters of water
  • Hamburger - 2,393 liters of water
  • Pizza - 1,216 liters of water
  • Jeans - 9,982 liters of water
  • Shoes - 8,547 liters of water
  • T-Shirt - 2,495 liters of water
  • Rice - 2,497 liters of water
  • Chocolate - 1,720 liters of water
  • Beer - 170 liters of water per pint
  • Cheese - 152 liters of water
  • Coffee - 132 liters of water per cup
  • Apple - 82 liters of water
  • Loaf of Bread - 48 liters of water
  • Paper - 13 liters of water per sheet

What do those numbers mean? Well, making a T-shirt is the equivalent of flushing a toilet 250 times. Making a pair of jeans? That's hosing your lawn for 9 straight hours. Even something as small as a loaf of bread's footprint requires crying non-stop for 84 days straight. If you think about it, the numbers make sense. For something like an apple, there's only so many steps of water it needs to grow. For something like a burger? Raising cattle requires water, using wheat for the bun needs water, vegetables need water and so on, it's a multi-step process that requires water at nearly every step.


Check out the Imagine All the Water website to see your water footprint and what you can do about it. [Imagine All the Water, Image Credit: Jag_cz/Shutterstock]

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