Friday, May 1, 2009

wherein i talk about toilet paper

while having a mildly popular blog/journal whatever this thing is, one might assume that in real life i am just as outgoing, forthcoming, whatever other adjective you might apply here. true and not true. naturally im going to be much more outspoken about things that in real life i would shy away from unless provoked and i felt safe doing so. i am not one of those people who browbeats people with ideas. wholly useless are such tactics of convincing. walking the walk, now that is how to get things done. here i will stress that i am a constant work in progress and by no means claim that i "walk the walk" in every aspect. whoah no.

it starts simply enough with an interest in environmentalism, conservation, what have you, and then some years later you're sitting in your cabin off the grid thinking gee, that happened rather unexpectedly. that really sums me up. had i no children i wished to socialize, community i felt wedded to, husband who's job necessitated a reasonable commute i could see me living in that cabin off the grid. well so long as i had wireless internet so i could still play scrabble online. lol. it just happens so slow that that i dont even think of some of the stuff that we do in our every day lives as (these are real words people have used to describe such things) "primitive", "weird", "radical", "brave", or "gross". much less powerful words have been used too but those are the ones that i seriously scratch my head at. maybe radical applies. for i do feel that growing your own food, taking charge of your health and well being, etc is a radical idea.

crunchy chicken did a challenge, and has been for some time now, about using cloth toilet paper in lieu of traditional paper. i felt a little silly signing up because we already do this and have for about 2 years now (an approximate monetary savings of about $400!) but i really wanted to throw my weight behind a positive thing. here are some stats that really blew my mind from her site.

According to Charmin, consumers on average use 8.6 sheets per trip to the bathroom. That's a total of 57 sheets per day and an annual total of 20,805 sheets. There are 230 million adults in the U.S., each averaging a roll and a half per week. Since each roll of toilet paper averages about .5 a pound of paper, that's about 40 pounds of TP per year.

That equals 4,600,000 tons of TP used each year. And that's just from adults. To take the calculation even further, if all U.S. adults used only Charmin toilet paper or the like (aka "virgin fiber" with 0% recycled content or post-consumer waste), the environmental cost is approximately (not including the issues with Dioxin):

- 78.2 million trees
- 1.35 million tons of air pollution
- 32 trillion gallons of water
- 2.1 trillion gallons of oil
- 18.75 trillion Kilowatt hours of energy

also dont be afraid to come to my house and be forced to wipe like a dirty hippy. (though we encourage it!) we keep a roll for guests in the bathroom at all times.


  1. so if you don't mind me asking- what did you buy for cloth TP, what kind of thing do you keep in the bathroom to store used "tp" and how often do you wash it? thanks ;)

  2. of course i dont mind! wouldnt have posted if i had :)

    we use recycled baby blankets mostly, but also have used say thrifted flannel sheets (these will fray initially unless serged). we simply cut 6X6 squares of cloth and fold them in half. we put them in a folded stack on the back of the toilet and when used put them in a "wet bag". which they have many places online or locally at Sprout Soup. these are washable bags that have a zipper top for cloth diapers and such usually. as far as washing, we just wash them as needed when the pile gets low. there are 4 of us using them so we have probably 5-6 dozen wipes. that usually lasts about 3-4 days.

  3. This is interesting. I am using cloth diapers with my baby right now. She's my fourth baby and i must say I wish i hadn't used disposables with them but better late than never, huh! If we did this route for TP it wouldn;t even change our wash loads as I could just add it to our load of washing diapers. Thanks for the idea. I'll run it by the fam.
    Shannon Milliman