We all know about reducing our carbon footprint, but the water crisis is real, so we need to start focusing on our water footprint, as well. Manufacturing everyday products require a lot of water, more than you think. Consider the environmental cost of sourcing raw materials before you buy, and consider the water footprint of every product to help save water.
Calculating the water footprint
There are three categories for calculating the water footprint of manufacturing a product.
- Blue Water Footprint
- Green Water Footprint
- Gray Water Footprint
Water conservation efforts begin with understanding where water is wasted, and how much water goes into making the products that you buy. To calculate the water footprint, we need to add up all the water used at every step of production, from sourcing virgin materials to the time a consumer disposes of that product.
Blue water footprint
This is the most significant portion of the water footprint of a product. The blue water includes all of the water used to source raw materials to make the product, as well as all of the water that goes into making the packaging, and transporting those products around the world before they end up in your home. The bluewater calculation includes everything from mining for rare earth metals to the glue that holds the packaging together.
Green water footprint
A lot of rainwater is used in the production of many everyday items, especially in the farming and forestry industries. Due to drought, green water is evaporating at an increasing rate forcing farmers to come up with revolutionary methods to stretch every drop of rain to sustain their crops.
Gray water footprint
Bluewater is discarded once it has served its purpose in the production stages. However, environmental standards will require plants and facilities to comply with pollution limits set by the local government. These pollution limits and regulations require the dirty blue water to be cleaned before it goes down the drain. The wastewater produced by the manufacturing process is cleaned by grey water.
Being an eco-conscious consumer is a crucial step to conserving water, energy, and natural resources to protect our planet.
Sunrise Sanitation provides waste management and recycling services in Maryland and West Virginia.