Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Toilet Paper

This 'sticker' actually came from a campaign to use less paper towel, 
but it would certainly work with toilet paper as well!

Yesterday I read that we as Americans are addicted to fluffy toilet paper -- and fluffy toilet paper is bad for the environment. Yes, apparently it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give toilet paper that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them. The pulp from one standing eucalyptus tree (a commonly used tree) produces as many as 1,000 rolls of toilet tissue. Americans use and average of 23.6 rolls per capita a year. Hmmmm . . . that's a lot of standing trees.  (source: The New York Times by Leslie Kaufman)

I have to admit, in my pre-green days I was a big proponent of fluffy toilet tissue. It is more pleasant. But since reading Serve God, Save the Planet I have made a habit of buying 100% recycled toilet paper. That was until I saw a large package of 7th Generation for sale at Shaw's for $14.00 for 12 rolls. I'm sorry, but paying over $1 a roll is just too steep! If you are interested in conserving the earth's resources, know that when it comes to many 'green' or 'organic' things, whole foods is actually a better place to shop than your local grocery store -- at least in our area. At Whole Foods, it can cost half that. When you purchase less expensive toilet paper, you know the kind that's reminiscent of fine sandpaper, you are probably purchasing a higher percentage of recycled paper. Look at the label. After a few weeks, you get used to it. Hey, it's a step up from the outhouse days when leaves were used! Right?

As I've mentioned in previous posts, we don't even purchase paper towels. For messy jobs I use less-than-perfect kitchen towels, or rags. For everything else, we use the good old fashioned kitchen towel. 

We generally don't buy facial tissue either. But sometimes I'll have a box in our guest bathroom. I was considering taking my collection of hankies and placing them in a glass jar on the counter of our guest bathroom, with a 'dirty' basket under the vanity. You know, like in those really fancy-shmansy hotels where they supply real hand towels. How do you think that would go over?

The funny thing is, when you don't have disposables at the ready -- you end up making due and using less. So not only do you save the earth's resources, you save money when you don't have to purchase tissues or paper towels!

Not long ago, Crunchy Chicken posted a challenge to use washable rags instead of toilet paper. (Someone had suggested pieces of old t-shirts.) We haven't gone that far here, but it certainly would be one less thing to purchase! 


Amy said...

You can buy the store brand at Target....12 rolls for 6.99 It's not fluffy so I assume it's recycled then? I can't see spending 14 dollars on toilet paper! Don't get me wrong I love my organic food but the whole industry is so elitist it is sickening.

Pam said...

We don't have any kind of healthy store that's not an hour away where I live in the Midwest. I buy one-ply TP. It's not only cheaper than the fluffy stuff, but we have been amazed by how much longer it lasts, too. I don't think that using strips of rags is in our future. Ew! Different strokes, I suppose.

Sandy said...

It's my understanding from what I read that these cheaper / thinner types of TP would at least have a higher percentage of recycled material in them. Check out the label, it should say. After reading Omnivore's Dilemma I'm not sure it's elitist, it's more like the same old same old factory farming without the chemicals -- certainly a big improvement, but not the original hope for the word "organic". Just think of all of the veggies you can grow in your raised beds! It's cheaper, but growing your own food gives you an appreciation for the cost of high quality food.

I totally hear ya on the 'washable' t.p. thing -- the funny thing is, when I was reading some of the comments and people were comparing it to using cloth diapers . . . I got to thinking . . . maybe I'm too narrow minded? Hmmm. No?

Mitchell Webster said...

I know this is going to sound crude, but back when my mother and grandmother was growing up, they did not ever hear of toilet paper, well they did not know what a bathroom was either, just the out house.

Their toilet paper was first (corn cobs) yes you heard right corn cobs (I cannot even imagine that) then the best thing in the world came along, The OLD Sears Robuck Catalog, from the previous year.

I guess all that was recycling also.

geisme said...

yes it means less paper/products to buy & MORE laundry to do. Hmmm

Amy said...

My elitist comment comes from the fact that all this kind of earth firendly stuff is much more expensive and it is always being preached to us to help out. Well then make for the average person.it more affordable

Sandy said...

Corn cobs!! Wow. That IS tough to imagine. But, both the cobs and the S&R catalog would be great composters. No more complaining about thin rough TP, just meditate on the thought of corncobs as an alternative. Dang.

Come on, seriously everyone, do you think just #1 would be THAT bad? I'm just sayin'.

Sandy said...

Regarding the price of organics and earth friendly items, unfortunately (or fortunately?) in our capitalistic society demand makes things cheaper. The more products WE make at BLW the more benefits we were able to offer our employees, and value we can pass along to our customers. It's kind of a catch 22. You need to get enough people buying in order to lower the prices. Regarding organics -- it IS more labor to grow things organically. Just try it at home. Bringing out the pesticides is a lot faster than dealing with bugs organically. However, it is true that we pay for this "faster" solution in other ways. Trust me, buying organically is far better than paying for cancer treatment - and God only knows what else pesticides do to us. For example, the common treatment for potato beetles is a spray that is the same chemical as nerve gas. Mmmmm.... yummy.