I Need...Toilet Paper

>> Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm changing my paper habits by starting at the bottom...my own bottom that is! (Ha, ha, you know a post about toilet paper has to start with a bad joke).

If you missed my post about why you should be more conscious about your paper purchases, you can review my Paper Primer here.

Or here are some other statistics about toilet paper brought to you by Seventh Generation (who is never shy about advertising how their products are better for the planet):

If every household in the U.S. replaced just one roll of 500 sheet virgin fiber bathroom tissue with 100% recycled ones, we could save:
  • 423,900 trees
  • 1.0 million cubic feet of landfill space, equal to 1600 full garbage trucks
  • 153 million gallons of water, a year's supply for 1,200 families of four
So now that you know why you should change, here are some steps you can take to be a Conscious Shopper:

BABY STEPS

  • Use less of the toilet paper you're already using. According to Charmin, the average person uses 8.6 sheets of toilet paper per trip to the bathroom. Could you get by with 7? 5? 3? If you're using virgin toilet paper (which is very strong and absorbent) and especially if you've only gone #1, it really doesn't take that many sheets of toilet paper to get a good wipe.
  • Pick a brand with a conscience. Better World Shopper gives Cottonelle a B- and Charmin a C+. Quilted Northern and Angel Soft get an F. Climate Counts gives Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Cottenelle, a score of 58 on their 100 point scale, and Proctor & Gamble, the makers of Charmin, a score of 69 (that's actually a pretty good score).
JOGGING STRIDE
  • Buy recycled toilet paper. There are several brands to choose from: Seventh Generation, Marcal, and Green Forest, to name a few. I went with the Seventh Generation brand because I found out from Fake Plastic Fish's site that you can get your toilet paper delivered as part of Amazon's Subscribe and Save program for the reasonable price of $40.79 for a pack of 48 rolls of 500 sheets each ($0.0017 per sheet). Cottonelle from Amazon is $0.0024 per sheet. The Seventh Generation toilet paper is also individually wrapped in recycled/recyclable paper rather than plastic wrap, and it comes in a great big box with no plastic packaging in site. The toilet paper itself, to be honest, reminds me of the cheap toilet paper you see in public restrooms, but it's doing it's job and that's all that matters.

MARATHON RUNNER
  • Use cloth wipes. I tried this out as part of Crunchy Chicken's Cloth Wipes Challenge. Surprisingly, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Since we're already using cloth diapers, I just moved the cloth baby wipes into the kids' bathroom to make them more accessible. I have two potty trained boys who only wipe for #2, and I actually found that the cloth wipes work much better than the moistened flushable wipes I was buying (as long as they remember to put the wipes in the diaper pail and not the toilet). I like the softness factor of the cloth wipes (as opposed to the rough recycled toilet paper), and washing the wipes was no big deal since we're already washing cloth diapers.
Where I'm At

Despite the roughness factor, I like the Seventh Generation recycled toilet paper, and the price is right. I'm also keeping the cloth wipes in the kids' bathroom for now, but once Third Son is out of diapers, I doubt I'll keep up the cloth wipes. Sorry, Crunchy Chicken, but I just can't bring myself to wash my pee-stained wipes with my regular laundry!

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