A recent episode of South Park unexpectedly shed light on the climate and environmental harms of toilet paper.
FYI, the link to bidet recommendations actually goes to a list of toilet paper brand “recommendations.”
1) I've DREAMED of the day where a HEATED column would use the word "tuchus". Somewhere, my late father is smiling.
2) I buy recycled TP wherever/whenever possible. A small thing, perhaps, but I "do what I can do".
3) I'd use a bidet. A friend of mine had one put in to their new bathroom and they swear by it.
Very useful information on how to be a better consumer. With 2 daughters and a stepson we unfortunately use a lot of toilet paper, so we could definitely use solutions to use less and make good choices on what we do use!
Hey y'all, I hope you also know about Who Gives a Crap!
They are big on jokes and puns too.
Hi - I love HEATED! Quick note: the link for bidet recommendations actually leads to a Wirecutter list of toilet paper recommendations.
"A Japanese smart toilet, which will wash and dry you! can cost you upwards of $2,000—plus plumbing costs. (Here’s a list of recommendations for bidets.)" With this link: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/money/toilet-paper-deals/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email
Would love to see the bidets that HEATED meant to link to! Thanks
I'm a 70 year old, straight Midwest male and I have a "bidet attachment" on my toilet. I use it after every BM, for the simple reason I like to be clean. I still use TP, but only a small amount, to dry off after the splash. These attachments are inexpensive on Amazon or your local home improvement store (a functioning unit can be purchased for as little as $25 on Amazon), and easy to install. They simply connect to your cold water intake behind your toilet, and are hand controlled by a knob next to the seat. If you're not upset by a splash of cool water, you don't need an electric hookup.
Of course you can get as fancy as you want - the next step up is the ones with heaters, but like I said you'll need to plug them in somewhere. Or you can get a new toilet with integrated everything - I've seen "smart" toilets for thousands of dollars. They'll wash your bottom, dry you off, and probably spray just a touch of perfume if you choose. Plus, many have a night light and a remote control so you can control the temperature and of course the color and intensity of the night light (very important, of course).
I spent 3 years in Cairo; for the untraveled, bidet toilets are ubiquitous in Muslim cultures. Once I tried one, I realized what a huge improvement it is, and when I settled into my current home after retirement, I bought & installed one. I'm glad I did - I've never felt cleaner.
As for the paper products, I imagine hemp would offer the best replacement - grows like a weed (pun intended) and is cheaper to harvest than old growth forests. I'm sure a bit of genetic engineering could produce fibers as soft as the old trees they're slaughtering. Of course there is the age old problem of "*Gasp!* we can't grow marijuana!!" If this culture could dig our heads out of the Muddled Ages, we just might find a sustainable way to continue to live on this planet.
Having used a public bathroom before, I'm not sure how I feel about bidets there. "Cleanliness is next to godliness" seems to be lost on some people.
That said, the use of bidets at home and more sustainable brands of toilet paper regardless of context seems feasible if not prudent. No ifs, ands, or, ahem, butts about it.
Has anyone done the mass energy calculation for bamboo toilet paper? Supposedly bamboo is another answer but there don’t appear to be North American toilet paper mills so there’s an energy cost to shipping. Like Star Trek, maybe they could “wipe out” the Klingons?
PS: paper manufacturing is very energy intensive
It's a little more complicated than meets the eye. Back in the day, forestry students were taught that the USFS was expected to be planting more trees than it was allowing to be harvested. Also, not all trees are created equal. Aspen, of which there was plenty of in the uppper Midwest regenerates very easily as it share roots among individual trees. I don't know what goals invidual state forestry organizations or departments use for goals -- that would be an interesting investigation. Also, when you use the term, old growth, what percentage of the total forest do you suppose that is? And, how old is old. It used to be that foresters were taught that wood accumulation tapered off after the tree matured. And thus, to get the most wood per acre one would cut the trees at the rotation age which varies greatly by region -- Southeast U.S. versus far north in Canada. Clearly many of us now realize that we should look at the rates of carbon dioxide ingestion and oxygen production in addition to paper usage. As I noted at a different site on a different day, I would like to see greater taxation on forest products to pay for forest management that is aligned with the global need for trees. While I applaud your investigation into toilet paper, I would like to see more coverage about how we can slow the exporting of wood chips to Europeans who are burning them, adding to the problem.
now we know why those Charmin bears love wiping their asses so much 🧐🧐
Thanks for this news we can use, especially the NRDC “tissue issue” link that lists the brands and their grades. This makes too easy to switch brands. Too easy! Now we need to get our friends to see the light...and enjoy cleaner bums!
"Hatred of the French"
Don't know why, but this bluntness made me laugh so damn hard, which I needed because of the legal bullshit happening in Texas this week.
It’s a premise that has been proven to be applicable in industry after industry.
Incumbents work hard to protect markets from competitors.
Big Fossil fought hard to minimize climate change concerns to maintain markets. The nascent nuclear industry was both a target and a victim of this focused market protection scheme.
In the early days of nuclear, it couldn’t compete on price with the long-established, enormous industry. But its emission-free attribute was valued enough for submarines to overcome economic disadvantage.
Valuing CO2 free production might have kept nuclear in the money, but Big Fossil couldn’t afford to allow that to happen.
Thank you for this important article. We have two bathrooms in our 130 year old house that are in serious need of renovation. We are regularly discussing how to go about it sensibly, retaining as much of the character of the house as possible, but a bidet is a Definite for at least one of them. I very much appreciate the information provided about toilet paper and the environmental downside of massive tree denuding just to provide a cozy fabric-like path to what is often unsatisfactory bum cleaning. I imagine that interviewing folks that clean out septic systems and replace sewer lines would also provide some eye opening details.
Along those lines, as a retired horticulturist and habitat designer, I must take the opportunity to point out the other insane tree-decimation product that many Americans use: mulch. From sea to shining sea, Americans feel compelled to purchase mulch every spring, even if it is a poor quality or a popular tainted (dyed) product. Every commercial property in the country uses massive amounts of mulch which quickly deteriorates, fades, and is partially or totally, eventually, covered with foliage. I finally produced my Mulch Manifesto which outlines the disaster that is our obsession with mulch.
We can and need to do better.
If folks could see what thousands of acres of trees cut down and chewed into mulch looks like, it surely inspires nightmares of a post apocalyptic landscape, where all the birds, squirrels, turtles, amphibians, fox, woodpeckers, insects, and untold other creatures have been scraped off the planet.
Thanks to their carbon impact, it turns out Charmin really is for assholes