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How much water can a conference bag hold?

March 14, 2013

We’re moving, which means we’ve been decluttering the house, or at least trying to! As part of the “big clean”, I came across a suitcase full of old conference bags, with all kinds of exhibitor catalogues, flyers, brochures, etc. Perhaps with a hint of procrastination, I decided to calculate the water footprint of one of these bags. Here’s what I came up with:

  • 1 cotton tote bag = 2500 litres
  • 182 pages of paper = 1820 litres
  • Total = 4320 litres (over 1000 gallons!)
  • Estimated event participants = 2500
  • Total water consumption from tote bags and materials = 10,800,000 litres

According to this National Geographic article, the global average water footprint of 900 gallons per person per day for diet, household use, transportation, energy, and the consumption of material goods, meaning that the bags and papers from this one conference were equivalent to the daily needs of 12,000 people.

World Water Day is coming up on March 22nd and I hope that these tips for reducing the water footprint of your event will come in handy.



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