It Takes More Than a Liter to Make a Liter of Water

1.39 liters, to be exact
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2013 2:15 PM CST
It Takes More Than a Liter to Make a Liter of Water

If you think it takes a liter of water to fill a liter water bottle, the International Bottled Water Association has news for you: It takes more than that. NPR reports on the group's first look at the topic, which found that 1.39 liters (or 47 ounces) are needed to make a one-liter bottle (that's about 34 ounces of water); this includes product water and the water needed for things like cleaning and bottling. It arrived at that figure by asking its members to submit three years of detailed data, touching on factors like total water use and the type of treatment used. Writes IBWA, "The study represents 14.5 million liters of bottled water production, an impressive 43% of total 2011 United States bottled water consumption."

That figure applies to US and Canadian companies, and a rep for the group actually calls that "extremely efficient." NPR explains why: A liter of soda demands 2.02 liters of water, while the same quantity of wine requires 4.74 liters. The IBWA chose to stop there in its calculations, but the truth is that the actual "water footprint" is much larger: For instance, oil is needed to make plastic, and drilling for it requires, yep, water—in some cases as much as seven times what the plastic bottle ultimately contains. (More water stories.)

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