The environmental problem with toilet paper and what to use instead

March 1, 2019 by  
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Having access to soft, fluffy toilet paper is one of those modern conveniences that makes life in the 21st century that much easier. But did you know that using this luxury could be doing more damage to the environment than driving a large, gas-guzzling SUV? On average, every American uses three rolls of  toilet paper  each week (28 pounds per year), meaning that just 4 percent of the world’s population is responsible for 20 percent of total tissue consumption. This is destroying forests and impacting climate change in a significant way. “The Issue with Tissue” A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council titled “The Issue with Tissue” said that many toilet paper manufacturers like Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Georgia Pacific use wood pulp from Canadian forests and zero recycled content when making their at-home toilet paper. “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,” Anthony Swift, director of the NRDC’s Canada Project, said in a news release. “Maintaining the Canadian boreal forest is vital to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change .” What is toilet paper made of? Companies use different ingredients to make tissue products, but the typical main ingredient is paper pulp. It can come from a variety of sources, like post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled content or wheat straw and bamboo . However, the most common source of paper pulp by far is wood, AKA virgin fiber, because it has never been used in another product. Virgin fiber is “environmentally destructive” according to the NRDC. The two types of virgin pulp are softwood and hardwood, with softwood coming from spruce and other coniferous trees and hardwood coming from deciduous trees. Spruce and other coniferous trees are found in places like the southeastern U.S. and the Canadian boreal, and they produce long fibers that strengthen the tissue. Related: Evaporative off-grid toilets don’t need plumbing, water or electricity Without getting too scientific, making pulp from virgin fiber requires a mill that makes logs into wood chips, plus an energy-intensive chemical process to separate the wood fibers. To whiten the pulp, it also has to go through a chemical bleaching process. Making toilet paper from 100 percent virgin fiber “generates three times as much carbon as products made from other types of pulp,” according to the NRDC report. Manufacturing a single roll of toilet paper also uses 37 gallons of water , and transporting the paper can waste loads of gas. Sustainability scores The NRDC report gave “sustainability-based scores” for different at-home toilet paper brands. Because they use zero recycled content in their products, brands like Charmin Ultra, Quilted Northern, Kirkland, Up & Up Soft and Strong and Angel Soft received an “F.” Scott 1000, Scott Comfort Plus, Cottonelle Ultra and Trader Joe’s Super Soft Bath Tissue received a “D.” Brands that scored an “A” because they use recycled paper include 365 Everyday Value 100% Recycled, Earth’s First, Natural Value, Green Forest, Seventh Generation and Trader Joe’s Bath Tissue. The report concluded that when it comes to using sustainable components, Procter & Gamble was the worst paper company in the U.S. P&G has yet to comment on the report. A Georgia-Pacific spokesperson said that the company does use recovered fiber in addition to virgin wood, and a Kimberly-Clark spokesperson said the company’s goal is to cut the virgin pulp content in its products in half by 2025. Eco-friendly alternatives Who Gives A Crap This company began with crowdfunding back in 2012, and it has been growing ever since. It offers  eco-friendly toilet paper made from 100 percent recycled paper as well as no added inks, dyes or scents. Who Gives A Crap claims its 3-ply is as “soft as unicorn kisses and as strong as 1,000 ponies,” and you can buy it in bulk at just $1 per jumbo roll, which is 400 sheets. This company also donates 50 percent of profits to help improve sanitation and build toilets in developing countries. Family cloth This might be an option that is out of most people’s comfort zone , but in the spirit of cloth diapers comes family cloth —  wiping with fabric swatches , which are then placed in a wet-dry bag and laundered so they can be reused . Bidet attachment For some reason, Americans haven’t fallen in love with alternatives like bidets as many Europeans have. This is unfortunate, because bidets have amazing environmental benefits. Plus, they are great for personal hygiene. Related: How to upgrade your toilet with a handheld bidet sprayer If you aren’t familiar with a bidet attachment, it is a fixture that you add to your toilet seat. It will wash your bum and genitalia with water after you use the toilet. You can greatly reduce the need for toilet paper in your house by adding a bidet attachment to your toilet. If everyone in America reduced their toilet paper use by just one roll per week, it would save thousands of trees and have a significant environmental impact. Images via Shutterstock

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The environmental problem with toilet paper and what to use instead

“Family cloths” reusable toilet wipes: gross or great?

February 3, 2015 by  
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  Many of us who try to lead eco-conscious lifestyles are likely already using many reusable, washable fabric items for both household and personal use. Cotton dish cloths, washable baby diapers , handkerchiefs , and Glad Rags-type menstrual cloths are growing in popularity, but there’s one area in which we may all be eco-offenders: the ‘loo. Enter “family cloths”, also known as reusable toilet paper. These are washable strips of cotton flannel that folks can use to wipe with, but are they just too gross for most people to consider? Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Read the rest of “Family cloths” reusable toilet wipes: gross or great? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cloth diaper , cloth diapers , family cloths , laundry , menstrual cloth , reusable wipes , toilet paper , toilet wipes , water conservation , water pollution

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“Family cloths” reusable toilet wipes: gross or great?

3D-printed “Cool Brick” cools a room using only water

February 3, 2015 by  
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Emerging Objects , frontrunners in the 3D printing industry, has developed a 3D-printed ceramic “Cool Brick” that uses nothing but water to cool homes in hot, dry climates. This is the first project of its kind, now on exhibit in San Francisco, and it demonstrates technology that could make a radical change to home energy use in arid regions. Read the rest of 3D-printed “Cool Brick” cools a room using only water Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3D , 3D printing , ceramic bricks , cooling , cost-savings , eco-friendly , Emerging Objects , Energy Savings , evaporative cooling , heat , humidity , passive cooling , water issues

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3D-printed “Cool Brick” cools a room using only water

Will Google launch a ride-share app using self-driving cabs?

February 3, 2015 by  
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Uber has been getting into a lot of trouble lately, but nothing the company has faced to this point will be as ferocious as the competition the taxi-like service could get from Google in the coming years. Google is reportedly making quiet preparations for its own ride-sharing service, an anonymous source told Bloomberg . Read the rest of Will Google launch a ride-share app using self-driving cabs? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: anonymous source , autonomous cars , autonomous vehicles , bloomberg , David Drummond , driverless cars , Google , mobile app , ride-hailing , ride-sharing , San Francisco , Uber , Uber board of directors

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Will Google launch a ride-share app using self-driving cabs?

PETA Vegan Toilet Paper Inspires After-Dinner Conversation

April 12, 2012 by  
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PETA wants to spread its stance against animal cruelty every where – and we do mean every where. Toilet paper with an anti-meat message is yet another way that the animal rights organization is teaching consumers about slaughterhouse conditions. Now those uncomfortable family gatherings where certain topics are swept under the rug can be relegated to a new form of bathroom reading material. Read the rest of PETA Vegan Toilet Paper Inspires After-Dinner Conversation Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal cruelty , animal rights , Cuba , meat consumption , PETA , slaughterhouses , toilet paper , Trenton , vegan toilet paper

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PETA Vegan Toilet Paper Inspires After-Dinner Conversation

Anastassia Elias Creates Charming Miniature Worlds Inside Recycled Toilet Paper Rolls

March 1, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Anastassia Elias Creates Charming Miniature Worlds Inside Recycled Toilet Paper Rolls Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: anastassia elias , Art , diorama , eco-art , green art , miniature worlds , Recycled Materials , recycled paper , reused materials , rouleaux , sustainable art , toilet paper rolls , toilet rolls. paper rolls cardboard tubes , upcycled toilet paper rolls , upcycling

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Anastassia Elias Creates Charming Miniature Worlds Inside Recycled Toilet Paper Rolls

Greener (Brown) Toilet Paper and the Elusive Green Consumer

February 13, 2012 by  
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The case of a 100 percent post-consumer recycled content toilet paper illustrates why a shift toward sustainability will have to come from the top down, not the bottom up.

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Greener (Brown) Toilet Paper and the Elusive Green Consumer

The Week in Pictures: DIY Halloween, Sleep Makes You Skinny, and More

October 29, 2010 by  
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Maybe you’d like to dress up as a roller coaster this year? We can tell you how to do it — using materials you have at home! We also have news on a new study that says sleep makes you skinny, a toilet paper manufacturer getting rid of the tube, and more in The Week in Pictures. …

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The Week in Pictures: DIY Halloween, Sleep Makes You Skinny, and More

Graffiti Rabbit Under Threat But Beaver is O.K.

October 29, 2010 by  
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Photo: flickr hive mind When it comes to graffiti, a beaver is o.k. but a 12 foot high rabbit isn’t

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Thoreau Had The Right Idea

October 29, 2010 by  
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Five blog-years or so after this tree hug began, amidst an increasingly dark political backdrop, the gush of digital media had become almost paralyzing. And so, while Botox-laced pundits spoke over videos of angry-faces, I made my Wilderness Escape to a place where only Chickadees “tweeted” and where “roaming” means hiking. ” Good to go while the going is still good ” I thought – reminiscing about the dread-filled Cold War years of my childhood….

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