How Much Raw Material it Takes To Make 11 Everyday Foods And Products, From Sugar Cubes To iPhones

Each iPhone contains 31 grams of aluminum.istock; Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

You'd be surprised by how much raw material goes into the everyday items you use.

For example, take your coffee habit. The average cup of coffee requires about 100 beans. So if you drink one cup per day, you'd need at least nine coffee trees producing full-time to give you a year's worth of joe. (That's not to mention the vast amounts of water, fertilizer, and manual labor needed to keep a coffee farm running.)

In our modern lives, it's often easy to forget how many resources we're using day to day, since most of us are far removed from the places and processes in which most foods and products are made. 

For that reason, we've compiled this list of how much raw material goes into 11 common food items and products.

It takes around a pound of sugarcane, depending on the variety, to produce 15 sugar cubes.

istock; Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Sugar production is a global industry, spanning the planet's tropical and subtropical regions. It's labor-intensive process: Sugarcane, the plant sugar comes from, must be harvested — usually by hand — and then cut, mashed, and boiled to become sugar.

Depending on the variety, one ton of sugarcane can yield between 170 and 225 pounds of refined sugar, according to Purdue University's Center for New Crops and Plant Products.

That means you'd need roughly one pound of sugarcane to make 15 3-gram sugar cubes, or around 3 ounces of raw sugarcane to make one sugar cube.

Each iPhone contains 31 grams of aluminum.

istock; Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Your iPhone contains a number of metals, including titanium and iron. But there is far more aluminum, which is used to make your phone's outer case, than any other metal.

Aluminum comprises around 24% of an iPhone's mass, followed by iron, which makes up around 14% of the device's mass, according to Motherboard.  

The rest of the iPhone contains various rare earth elements and other metals like titanium, cobalt and nickel. 

You'll need the annual yield of nine coffee trees to give you one cup of coffee per day for a year.

istock; Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

Here's how this breaks down: An average cup of coffee uses around 100 coffee beans. A coffee tree can produce, on average, 4,000 coffee beans in a year, according to Treehugger. That means you'll need at least nine trees to produce a year's worth of coffee for a cup-per-day drinker.

That's not to mention the inputs required for coffee to grow, get roasted, or brew, nor the fact that it takes a coffee tree at least 5 years to reach full productivity. 

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