Friday, September 25, 2009

The TP Debate

How timely that an article on toilet paper appeared in the Washington Post yesterday following my 24-hours of diarrhea. It seems the green people are up in arms about America’s penchant for plush wipes.

One could raise a lot of questions about toilet paper. Like how much and how thick. I never thought much about the number of squares until a young neighbor friend of my son announced that he was only allowed to use 3 at a time. I remember realizing that we had failed to impart any limit as I once heard my daughter reel off a fistful of paper.

As for the thickness question, I have always felt Cottonelle (or its equivalent) was more luxury than I needed or could afford. Instead I choose to buy the 1000-square rolls of Scott that come in a package of 24 at Costco. They seem to last forever and still get the job done.

Traveling around the world, I have seen quite a variety of toilet paper, ranging from the quality of Sears catalog to something short of Cottonelle. I can never remember seeing anything like that abroad in any country. In some cases, I have been quite grateful to find any paper at all.

The current debate in this country is between toilet paper made from recycled paper versus the super soft stuff that apparently demands wood from very old trees. To me that’s a nobrainer, but not everyone sees it that way.

Earlier in the year, Fox News’ Bill Hemmer did a blind test and actually chose the recycled paper as the preferred wipe, much to the chagrin of the makers of the thick stuff.

This is just one more case where many Americans come out as spoiled and rich. I suggest we save those old trees and put that extra money to better use. I'm now persuaded to switch to something made from recycled paper. Or maybe buy a bidet instead and give up toilet paper altogether. Now there’s a thought...


Blogger Kristin said...

I know a woman who carries a water bottle as a portable bidet (about which I'd rather not know). I tend to stick with the paper but I do think about waste in the bathroom between toilet paper, paper towels and water. It's a mess.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

When we went to Europe in 1972 we were so intrigued by the variety of toilet paper we found, that we started collecting samples upon which we wrote the name of the city where found. We still have the collection!

BTW, we actually are in Wash. DC right now. I would have loved to have met you, but it is a quick trip and tightly scheduled. Maybe next time...

8:43 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- Wow! What a story about the portable bidet. There is definitely a lot of wasted paper.

Terry -- I too chronicled my first trip to Europe by describing the toilet paper. But it was in letters to my parents which are long since gone. I never thought of keeping samples. What great idea!

I'm so sorry to have missed your DC visit. Maybe one of these days I'll make it to the Pacific NW!

9:04 PM  
Blogger Made 4 Aid said...

yes, if I was world president for a day I'd get rid of all non-recycled tp for ever!!

2:59 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Bidets are actually very smart inventions -- less wasteful and much cleaner than TP.

9:02 AM  
Blogger David said...

This covers all the bases = saves you money, helps the environment, helps your health, makes you feel better, it's so easy to do and it costs less than $50.00; Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off” Available at with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without feeling guilty. It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt with prudently but remember the water use of industrial users far exceeds the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways.

12:04 AM  

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