Impact on Water

The process of producing virgin cotton for textiles consumes vast amounts of water. Today, over 663 million people worldwide lack access to safe water.

The process of producing virgin cotton for textiles consumes vast amounts of water. Today, over 663 million people worldwide lack access to safe water.

Clothing Has A Serious Drinking Problem

The process of producing virgin cotton fiber (and synthetics) for use in clothing and other consumer goods consumes vast amounts of water. The growing, dying, treating and shipping of the raw material adds up to consume enormous amounts of freshwater.

Here we have chosen to focus on the water consumption for a single pair of jeans as a poignant example. You can see in the numbers below, how water is allocated in the thirsty cycle of making the virgin textile through to its home laundry.

It is estimated that the combined amount of water consumed in the lifetime of a single pair of jeans amounts to over 2500 gallons of water (this includes everything; the growing of the cotton, transportation, dyeing, laundry processes and then home laundry).

traditional jeans

If this volume were to be converted into drinking water, it’s the equivalent of 6 years of drinking water for a man or 9 years for a woman (at the recommended 2 or 3 liters per day). OR, if converted into gas, it’s the equivalent of driving across America 20 times (at 23 mpg).

Today, it is estimated that there are over 663 million people around the world (that’s 1 in 10) who lack access to safe water on a daily basis.

WATER CONSUMED IN STANDARD LIFE CYCLE OF ONE PAIR OF JEANS = 2500 GALLONS or 9463 LITERS

Here are the numbers that show where the water goes. 74% of it goes into the actual making of the new fabric:

Fiber Production (68%) = 1700 GALLONS
Consumer care (23%) = 575 GALLONS
Fabric Production (6%) = 150 GALLONS
Sundries & Packaging (2%) = 50 GALLONS
Cut, Sew & Finishing (1%) = 25 GALLONS

SEE HOW MUCH WATER YOU SAVE WITH DOUBLE ELEVEN