Is there really an eco-friendly solution to toilet paper?

Danielle Vick

When you think of environmental mishaps, toilet paper probably doesn’t jump to the top of the list. But something we use once for less than 3 seconds is actually “one of the greatest excesses of our age.”

Americans cut down 7.5 to 15 million trees a year just for toilet paper. It takes 37 gallons of water to make one single roll, and most brands use bleach and other toxic chemicals.

Americans obsession with super soft toilet paper put us more at fault because soft tissue usually comes from old growth and virgin trees. That love has been labeled worse for the environment than American’s love of SUVs, fast food, and huge houses.

And we don’t really need that super soft tissue. When we don’t have a choice, the stuff in public stalls gets the job done just fine, and 75% of that toilet paper is from recycled materials.

If every house in America replaced just one roll of super soft toilet paper with a 100% recycled roll, we could save nearly half a million trees every year.

But toilet paper isn’t the only option to clean our undercarriage.

Bidets, while seemingly only for the posh European crowd, are popular everywhere in the world, except North America. Bidets use just an eighth of a gallon a flush, and the mechanics makes sense once you get over your squeamishness. For example, when your hands get dirty, you don’t just wipe them with a paper towel. You wash them, with water. What’s the big deal with doing the same thing with your tush?

If you just can’t convert, cloth toilet paper is your next best option. Compare this to using cloth diapers or a handkerchief, which we accept as fairly sanitary when taken care of properly.

And finally, recycled toilet paper is still leaps and bounds better than the super soft stuff.


So… How Green Is It To Use Toilet Paper?

Not-So-Green


Best Green Solution: Invest in a bidet, buy cloth toilet paper, or at the very least, choose 100% recycled toilet paper.

Don’t be tempted: To believe that your tush needs the super soft stuff.

Danielle Vick

Written by

environmental copywriter on the search for realistic green living. www.greenlivingdetective for more investigations.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade