The average person wipes their behind with about 384 trees within their lifetime in the form of toilet paper.
Used for seconds before we discard it permanently, toilet paper is the king of all throwaway products. Even though only 25% to 30% of the world’s population use toilet paper, we still produce over 83 million rolls every day!
Take A Stand
The average tree that weighs around 1,000 pounds produces just over 800 rolls of toilet paper. A lot of forest is being flushed away every single day!
It comes as no surprise that the US has the largest consumer base for toilet paper. France is in second place followed by the UK.
Wiping Away the Boreal was a 2017 Greenpeace report which found that “a large extent of the Swedish Great Northern Forest and the biodiversity contained within it is being threatened by the timber industry. The ever-increasing demand for virgin pulp, much of which is being used for tissue products.”
Another report ‘The issue with tissue‘ from 2019 by The Natural Defense Council and Stand.earth about the Canadian Boreal reported that “over 28 million acres of boreal forest disappeared between 1996 and 2015.”
90% of the previously mentioned logging happens via clear-cutting. Clear-cutting removes almost all the trees from that area. It can take over a century for the forest to return to its original conditions before logging occurred.
Human activities are driving the world’s species to extinction at up to 1,000 times the natural rate. To protect biodiversity and the functioning ecosystems vital to our well-being, we must reduce and ultimately halt our destruction and degradation of natural habitats.
Ethical Consumer magazine reports that most brands are using less recycled paper than in 2011. The large-scale use of virgin paper contributes to unnecessary .
There is no need to cut down forests to make toilet roll, yet this is precisely what is happening.
mentions Alex Crumbie, a researcher for Ethical Consumer,
With consumer attention focused on plastic, some big brands have slowed and even reversed their use of recycled paper in the toilet rolls they manufacture.
Recycled wood pulp is a clear alternative to virgin fiber. Toilet paper made from recycled wood pulp has a significantly lower environmental impact than virgin fiber, but knowing which manufacturer to trust is challenging.
Kimberly-Clark is one of the biggest suppliers of toilet paper and tissue in the world. The amount of recycled pulp used by Kimberly-Clark has dwindled over the years. They recycled less than 30% of the total fiber in 2011, but this figure had fallen to 23.5% by 2017. They discontinued their popular recycled/bamboo range Andrex in 2015.
That only a quarter of the world population uses toilet paper points to the fact that there are many hygienic alternatives.
Even though many corporations brand their products with the FSC label, many of these products still use a majority of virgin pulp.
Toilet Paper Alternatives?
Water has no carbon footprint. If you are privileged enough to have a bidet or bidet shower in your bathroom, you probably already use water. It’s the safest alternative to tissue paper. I live in South East Asia and every house has a spray gun next to the toilet; this is a bathroom necessity. Not only as a replacement for toilet paper but as a general cleaning utensil. You can clean the floor, the toilet seat, and the toilet bowl. If none of the options are available to you, as a last resort there is always the shower. Water is by far the most hygienic option.
If water is not an option for you, there are several alternatives. Our first alternative is the White Goat.
The white goat created by a Japanese company called Oriental.
Here is how it works: You feed the machine about 40 sheets of paper, wait for 30 minutes and take out a perfectly made toilet paper roll.
For the truly committed ready to go green and live healthily, cloth toilet paper is the answer. It is not for everybody, but if this interests you, have a look at the Sustainable Baby Steps website. There are many more primitive options i.e. washable sponges, leaves and the good old left hand as they do in India.
Bamboo toilet paper, when sourced responsibly, is more sustainable than virgin wood pulp. It does, however, present certain logistical challenges depending on your demographic. In countries where bamboo does not grow, you may import it, but this might make it expensive. So it is not always an option and not a global solution by far.
We all know what is good for our bottoms. So the next time you avoid wiping with tissue paper, just remind yourself that you are not wiping out our trees, and your bottom will be happy about that.
This content was originally published here.