I was reading some statistics on the New Scientist the other day about toilet paper usage, one of my favorite topics. According to the article, 60 million rolls of toilet paper are flushed away in Europe every day.
You think that's bad? The average American blows through 57 sheets a day. That's six times the global average. So, if you think you are a light user, someone out there is making up for it. In fact, someone out there is hand over fisting toilet paper over their hands and, er, fists.
The bigger (messier?) problem is the fact that, in the U.S., 14.5 million tons of office paper and newspaper will be dumped this decade, despite being ideal for recycling as toilet paper. The benefits of recycled toilet paper are that it consumes 64% less energy and 50% less water and creates 74% less air pollution compared with paper made from virgin wood pulp.
Why are we not using recycled? Demand. Apparently, the biggest obstacle to using recycled paper is our preference for the luxury, multi-ply TP that doesn't leave dingleberries that are apparently plaguing hairy assholes nationwide:
Unfortunately, this problem isn't just contained to western nations (or bears). The use of toilet paper is increasing in China and Africa. What does this mean? More huge amounts of waste being created just to wipe our collective hindquarters. So, use less toilet paper and choose 100% post-consumer recycled toilet paper.
Finally, if you are up for it, choose cloth wipes. The end result is resource conservation and cleaner air. And no dingleberries.