What is the average carbon footprint of a liter of bottled water?
There is a lot that goes into determining the carbon footprint of water. One has to consider the footprint of the capital and machinery used to manufacture the water, the petroleum used, and the footprint of the transportation of the bottles from manufacturer to consumer (often internationally). It’s hard to quanitfy this number. The Guardian’s figures from this 2008 article state that over 100 grams of greenhouse gas emissions come from manufacturing just one 1-liter bottle of water.
The above comment covers a lot of the underlying emission reasons: processing, transportation, and creation of the bottles themselves. According to the Pacific Institute, it takes about 17 million barrels of oil to support the American consumption of bottled water. They also state that it can take 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water, in which a large amount is wasted in the process. As recycling of plastic becomes more prevalent, the consumption of oil should go down, and perhaps even the filtering process as well in terms of water usage.
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