An article from the New York Times caught my attention last week. Many of us may never even think about the environmental consequences of toilet paper and if we do we may think it is not a very big deal in the grand scheme of things. If we are thinking along those lines, we are thinking wrong.
I am sure you are all familiar with the soft, cushiony toilet paper brands that are thrown at us via TV commercials and ads all the time…brands like Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra. If you want to feel as though you are wiping your behind with a cloud then these are the brands for you.
Unfortunately this particular article shows that luxury and softness has a price.
millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada. Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them.
Ugh! We are destroying forests just so we can have something super soft to wipe our backsides. That is the very definition of vain and wasteful. I would have to agree with Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist and waste expert with the Natural Resource Defense Council when he said “No forest of any kind should be used to make toilet paper.”
How can we justify such a thing when we can use/buy toilet paper made from recycled paper products? Is our bum worth that price?
The cost of “white” toilet paper is also high as tons of chlorine bleach and water must be used to bleach the paper pulp. This is highly unnecessary IMO.
So what can you do? Buy recycled, unbleached toilet paper. According to Greenpeace, Americans could save more than 400,000 trees if each family bought a roll of recycled toilet paper — just once. Inside their pocket tissue guide they recommend some of the following brands as being the most eco friendly choices:
Trader Joe’s brand
And of course there is always the option to use cloth. I admit that even though I use cloth diapers, cloth baby wipes, and even cloth menstrual pads (when I am not using my Diva Cup), I have not made the leap to cloth for the whole family and probably won’t. ;) I CAN buy recycled, unbleached toilet paper though.
Photo Credit: NiCk AnDeRsEn