Toilet Paper and the Environment

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Let’s admit it.  In our pre-environmentalist days, we used toilet paper without thinking about the negative impact it may have on the environment.  We just wipe our bottoms with it after doing our business in the toilet, place it in the toilet bowl, flush our human and paper wastes down the septic tank, and forget about it.  (There is also the matter of using too much water in our flushes but that’s another material for another article)

Did you know that with every tissue roll we consume, we might be signaling the death of yet another tree and in a virgin forest, at that?  Yes, many of us may not know of this fact, of which this article will seek to remedy.

Softest Toilet Paper = Swaths of Virgin Forest

Especially in the United States, there is too much emphasis on using the extra-soft, multi-ply and quilted toilet paper.  Supposedly, it makes for a better wiping experience, thanks in no small part to the aggressive marketing promotions of toilet paper manufacturers.

Unfortunately, said extra-soft toilet paper is manufactured from millions of trees from a virgin forest.   And not just any virgin forest either as the forests of Canada are the main supplier of American toilet paper!  Even the fact that these are farmed forests, the lumber of which could be used for more worthwhile causes like building homes, does not mitigate such an act of atrocity against the environment, all for the sake of a clean bottom.

Now, this is not to disparage the American public.  On the contrary, this is to make the American public and the rest of the world know that a lesser quality of toilet paper will do the job just as good.  It’s not exactly sandpaper, if you must know.  And your butts will not care whether the toilet paper used is not extra-soft, floral-printed and Dior-fragrance either.

When many more people will use recycled toilet paper, many more virgin forests can be saved.  Just think of the environmental benefits it can bring – less soil erosion and less ozone layer destruction, to name two.

Choose Your Recycled Toilet Paper

Now that the pitch for recycled toilet paper has been made, the next step is to educate about the right kind of recycled tissue paper.  You have to choose the unbleached kind because its processes are more eco-friendly.  This is because the bleached kind has to go through a de-inking process where chlorine is used to make it whiter.  Only then will it be subjected to further processes like pulping.  Keep in mind that chorine-based chemicals can produce toxic compounds like dioxins and organochlorines.

Among other health problems, dioxins can lead to decreased immune response, cancer, learning disorders and diabetes.  Is wiping your bottom clean worth all these risks? Definitely not.  So, again, always opt for toilet papers with labels that say “chlorine-free”, “bleach-free” and “unprocessed”.  If your supermarket does not stock these types, then you have every right to ask them to do so.

Well, of course, there is always the possibility of using water to clean your bottoms.  It’s cleaner and it’s cheaper, not to mention that people do it with a bidet.  So, why can’t you?

Related posts:

  1. Purchase Recycled Paper to Help a Bird
  2. Easy Steps to Make your Own Handmade Paper at Home
  3. What is REDD? – Getting Familiar with Eco-Friendly Acronyms
  4. Eco-Friendly Printing and Office Tips
  5. Bamboo Clothing Beats Silk
  6. Get in Shape While Helping the Environment


  1. We use water(in india), though it is another natural resource, it sure is better than paper and sounds like the natural way to do it.

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