Eco Shopping Index | Utility Bidder

Eco Shopping Index

How much impact does producing popular consumer products have on the environment?

Recently, the threat of human-induced global warming has become more widely acknowledged and plans are being put in place to tackle the impact. Many people across the planet are now being urged to reduce their carbon footprint to help reverse the damage done to the planet, what many may not realise is that every time they purchase common products they are contributing to the greenhouse effect.

The production of all types of everyday products of all different types has an impact on the environment. From essentials like food and clothes to modern technology such as smartphones and laptops, all consumer goods have a cost to produce and use. These goods use up electricity, fuel, and water (to name a few resources) as they are produced, transported and consumed by the public.

WATER COST

Producing many goods takes a lot of water, a vital resource that is greatly limited in certain parts of the world. The materials that are used to make many consumer products use a great deal of water to produce, it takes 22 gallons of water to make just one pound of plastic.

1

Laptop

50,193

gallons of water to produce

Creating a laptop used the most amount of water out of the consumer goods that have been studied, on average it takes an estimated 50,193 gallons of water to produce a laptop. This is equivalent to 401,544 pints, and as people are recommended to drink 3.5 pints of water a day, the water used to produce one laptop could keep a man well hydrated for almost 115,000 days, or roughly four lifetimes.

2

Car

39,000

gallons of water to produce

The next product that takes a large amount of water to produce is a car. A standard car takes almost 40,000 gallons of water to produce (and some feel this could be a conservative estimate given the products in a car). Although it uses over 10,000 fewer gallons of water than a laptop, it is the second-largest user of water by a big margin.

3

Smartphone

3,400

gallons of water to produce

A smartphone uses an average of 3,400 gallons to be produced, this makes it the third most environmentally damaging product on the list in terms of water used during production. There are 6.64 billion people using smartphones in the world today, which would require 22.58 billion gallons of water to produce, this amount of water could fill a third of Windermere (the largest lake in England). This only accounts for the number of smartphones used right now, as most people upgrade fairly regularly, the total amount of water used in smartphone production will be much higher than this.

4

Pair of Leather Shoes

2,113

gallons of water to produce

The item of clothing that uses the most water to produce is a pair of leather shoes, the production process for leather uses a lot of water as the animal hide is prepared and tanned. Consequently, it takes over 2,100 gallons of water to produce a single pair of leather shoes, and unlike in the past, people will go through many pairs of leather shoes in their lifetimes.

5

Set of Car tyres

2,074

gallons of water to produce

A set of car tyres use slightly less water than a pair of leather shoes during their production, making them the fifth-highest product in the rankings. To turn rubber from a tree into the tyres on a car takes a long process of transportation and manufacturing, and during this vast amounts of water are used. It was estimated in 2017 that there were 1.5 billion wasted car tyres in the world, this means over 4.3 trillion gallons of water are wasted on tyres that are not even being used.

Category Key Building materials Clothes Food/drink Household Motoring Stationary Technology

Product

Category

Water used to produce (galions)

Product

Category

Water used to produce (galions)

Technological Carbon Footprint

Once a product has been produced and shipped, and then bought by the consumer, its days of impacting the environment are not over. Many items (especially technological electronic ones) impact the environment through their electricity use every day. Unfortunately, most technology companies keep this data close to their chest, and the data on the carbon cost of products is scant. With one big exception, technology giant Apple releases environmental reports on all their products detailing their carbon cost over their entire lifestyle. These are the most wasteful:

1

Mac Pro

@computermane

2,765kg

production average of CO2 in it’s lifetime

Unsurprisingly the flagship Apple computer is the one that generates the most CO2 in its lifetime, over ten times the average of all the Apple products studied. The Mac Pro is certainly an investment, prices start at £5,999, but it can be as high as £52,373.

2

Pro Display XDR

@isetups

974kg

production average of CO2 in it’s lifetime

To go with your Mac is Apple’s own 4-figure display screen, adding a potential extra £4,599 to the Mac. However, you are paying for quality as the Pro Display XDR is the first-ever 32-inch 6k computer display. Unfortunately, the state-of-the -art display produced almost 1,000 kg of CO2 in its lifetime, having a big impact on the environment.

3

IMac

@macfreaks

481kg

production average of CO2 in it’s lifetime

The iMac is the integrated Apple computer, the iconic looking machine that has been around since 1998 but has evolved over the years to the sleek vibrant design we see today. The iMac is a lot more affordable than its big brother, but will still set consumers back over £1,000 for the base model.

Product

CO2 produced (kg)

Product

CO2 produced (kg)

Methodology

Water usage data was found from various sources including circular computing and stacker.

Apple data is found from the environmental reports Apple publishes for each of their current (and some past) products.

Go Back
x
Get your estimated savings in minutes We compare live prices from 27+ suppliers

Get quick prices

Chat to a utilities expert, call me now

Arrange a call back

x
Untitled-10 Great, we’ll give you a call shortly Please provide your contact details

We've saved up to 45% off utility bills for over 60,000 businesses across the UK. We often secure better rates without having to switch suppliers too.

    x
    Untitled-10 Ok, let’s arrange that call for you What time shall we call you?

    The time you've selected is in the past. Please pick a time in the future.

    We've saved up to 45% off utility bills for over 60,000 businesses across the UK. We often secure better rates without having to switch suppliers too.

      x
      Now please select a utility I want to get prices for...
      Gas
      Electric
      Gas & Electric
      Water
      Go Back
      Next
      Please enter your business gas information
      How much do you spend & how often?

      An estimate is fine if you don't have a bill to hand

      Go Back
      Get Prices

      Let’s save time, can we automatically gather meter information?

      ? What does this mean?
      To get your quotes at lightening speed we need several key pieces of information which can all be found on your electricity bill. But by simply ticking this box, we can search ‘industry held data’ to get your meter number, electricity consumption and current energy supplier. This means that we can get you quick quotes without asking you to dig out all of your paperwork. This is personal data therefore we need you to allow us to access this information.
      Go Back

      Do you know your electric meter number?

      Does your meter number end in any of the following?

      Go Back
      Enter meter number
      I don’t know
      Please enter your business electricity information
      How much do you spend & how often?

      An estimate is fine if you don't have a bill to hand

      Start date for a new contract?
      Get Prices
      Please enter your water information
      How much do you spend & how often?

      An estimate is fine if you don't have a bill to hand

      Go Back
      Get Prices

        Enter your details below to see quotes We’ve helped over 68,000 businesses