How much toilet paper do we use in a week? According to the NRDC, the average American uses 3 rolls of toilet paper per week! Hold on a sec while I pull out my calculator and do some math (scary, I know!)
Let’s see 3 X 52 = 156. That means every single person uses 156 rolls of toilet paper per year. That’s insane. Side note, maybe the average American should eat more fibre so they can have easier poops and don’t have to wipe so much. That’s a lot of dang toilet paper.
It’s safe to say that there is a ton of toilet paper getting flushed every single day.
With so much toilet paper getting flushed down the drain, it’s important to our earth that we use environmentally friendly toilet paper to wipe our heinies.
Is toilet paper bad for the environment?
Heck ya it is. According to an NRDC article, “Issue with Tissue” companies that use zero recycled content are
…relying on ancient trees clear-cut from the Canadian boreal forest (the “Amazon of the North”).
Anthony Swift, director, Canada Project, NRDC, said: “Most Americans probably do not know that the toilet paper they flush away comes from ancient forests, but clear-cutting those forests is costing the planet a great deal. Maintaining the Canadian boreal forest is vital to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.”
Suffice it to say that non-recycled content toilet paper is awful for the environment and the people and critters that live there.
Being a Canadian, I had no idea that toilet paper was harvested from our ancient Boreal forests. It’s BS if you ask me. We literally wipe our a$$es with toilet paper and flush it down the drain. Why isn’t all the toilet paper on the market made from recycled content? What am I missing here?
Is recycled toilet paper better for the environment?
Recycled paper saves trees. By using recycled content, less virgin trees are cut down to make butt wipes. This means if companies changed their ways and used recycled pulp instead of virgin trees, the amazing, environmental powerhouse that is the Canadian Boreal forest would not be clear cut.
As theecologist.org states,
The Canadian boreal is a vast landscape of coniferous, birch, and aspen trees. It contains some of the last of the world’s remaining intact forests, and is home to over 600 Indigenous communities, as well as boreal caribou, pine marten, and billions of songbirds. The loss of intact boreal forest is impacting Indigenous Peoples’ ways of life and driving the decline of caribou and other species.
Recycled paper also reduces energy consumption,
Producing recycled paper involves between 28 to 70 per cent less energy consumption than making virgin paper, and uses less water. For every tonne of paper used for recycling, the savings are at least 30,000 litres of water, 3,000 to 4,000 kWh electricity (enough for an average three-bedroom house for one year) and up to 95 per cent of air pollutants.
What is the most environmentally friendly toilet paper?
The NRDC has us covered with this straight-forward easy to read infographic:
Plastic free toilet paper
The big downside to recycled toilet paper is that it contains traces of BPA. Since reciepts and other plastic-containing paper is mixed into the recycled paper pulp, traces of plastic are found in recycled toilet paper.
Not ideal, I know, but I guess that is the tradeoff to not contributing to the destruction of forests just to wipe our a$$.
For a plastic free toilet paper option, go for bamboo. It is a little pricey but it might be worth it to you to spend that extra dough to be plastic free.
Is bamboo toilet paper ecofriendly?
Yes, bamboo toilet paper is ecofriendly. Bamboo is more sustainable than even recycled toilet paper and a million times more environmentally friendly than non-recycled toilet paper (I may have exaggerated that statistic a tad).
Bamboo is an awesome grass that grows super fast, so harvesting it is not like clear-cutting ancient Boreal forests. To learn more about how awesome bamboo is, check out my article here.
If you’re looking for unbleached bamboo toilet paper, you’re in luck because most brands are unbleached. Just double check the label to be sure.
The downside to bamboo toilet paper is that it is not readily available in big box stores and it is expensive. At around $18 for 12 rolls, it kind of makes your eyes bulge out of your head, just a tad.
As more and more wise people make the switch to environmentally friendly toilet paper, hopefully the price will go down. For right now, tell all your family and friends the harm their non-recycled poo wipes have on the environment. I would hazard a guess that they had no idea and maybe they will make the switch to a more sustainable option.
This may be a little personal, but what do you use to wipe your arse with? Let me know in the comments below, I’m oddly curious.
Cheers, and have an awesome day!