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):
Seems rather ridiculous, no? Just for wiping our butts. Fortunately, not all the toilet paper used is such an environmental disaster. Of course, the higher percentage of recycled paper you use in your toilet paper, the less environmental impact you make.
If you just can't make the switch to cloth toilet paper, at the very least switch to 100% recycled TP. And stay away from Charmin, Cottonelle, Angel Soft and other virgin fiber toilet papers out there.
For those of you who took the cloth challenge, how did it go? Will you continue to use cloth wipes? Did you run into any problems?