From: ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen, More from this Affiliate
Published May 12, 2015 06:56 AM

The environmental impacts of common consumer products

A new study estimates for the first time how much land and water well-known brands such as Apple, Kraft and Gap use in a year, and what’s needed to manufacture some of the products they sell.

Based on modelling by environmental data experts Trucost, the ‘Mind your step’ report published by Friends of the Earth examines the land and water ‘footprints’ of a range of diverse products including smartphones, leather boots, coffee, chicken curry ready-meals, t-shirts, and milk chocolate.

Trucost’s calculations also indicate the extent to which often controversial stages in the manufacture of these products - such as mining for metals and minerals, and water pollution from electronics assembly factories - contribute to these water and land footprints.

'Mind your step’s' findings reveal:

• Nearly 13 tonnes of water and 18 square metres of land are required to make a smartphone, with two fifths of the water impact due to pollution at the component manufacturing and assembly phases;

• A pair of leather boots requires 14.5 tonnes of water. However, where leather tanneries dump untreated chemicals into the environment – as is common in tanning districts such as the Hazaribargh region of Dhaka, Bangladesh – this figure rises to 25 tonnes;

• Over one year Kraft is estimated to have required an area of land the size of Belgium just to make its range of chocolate products.

Happy people holding smart phones image via Shutterstock.

Read more at ENN Affiliate, ClickGreen.

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