It is becoming more widely discussed just how much paper Americans consume and the impact it is having on our planet. This includes every paper product, from toilet paper to paper towels. Americans' consumption habits are putting a lot of stress on our forests - forests that are critical in the fight against climate change. It is estimated that 15 million trees are cut down every year to produce regular toilet paper for US consumers alone. To combat this, we’ve examined different types of bamboo and other eco-friendly alternatives to reduce paper production. Why bamboo? If you look at how fast does a bamboo grow, it’s able to replenish itself much faster than other types of trees.
On a per capita basis, it is estimated that Americans use 141 rolls per year, with the next highest being Germany at 134 rolls and the United Kingdom at 127 rolls. A few others to note are France at 71 rolls per year and Brazil at 38 rolls per year.
When it comes to paper products the story doesn't end there. Each paper product such as a paper towel, tissue paper, toilet paper roll, etc. needs to be discarded and that is another area that some countries differ.
In many parts of the world, flush toilets are not available. In other countries, it is very common for there to be a toilet paper waste bin. While most consumers in the US flush toilet paper, there is a percentage that throws the toilet paper away for a number of different reasons. So, which is better?
Is it better to flush toilet paper or throw it away?
Many people question, is toilet paper biodegradable? This is true for most toilet paper so when toilet paper is flushed, it is typically designed to break down and disintegrate in water. The broken-down toilet paper then forms toilet paper waste that can flow with water to the sludge tanks in the water treatment process.
If toilet paper is discarded in the trash, it will end up as toilet paper landfill waste with the other trash. Landfills are a serious area of caution as they can leach harmful chemicals into the environment if not properly maintained. Methane is one of the most commonly linked chemicals to landfills - as it is a gas that can be more potent than carbon dioxide.
So in short it is better to flush your toilet paper and to be sure that you are using biodegradable, eco-friendly toilet paper that will break down easier in our water systems.
We’ve now talked a little about some of the issues that arise with regular toilet paper, both in the making of it and getting rid of it. So what are some of the alternatives to toilet paper that can have less of an impact? Here are a few different options to check out if you want to make a change in your lifestyle.
What are alternatives to toilet paper?
Here are three sustainable alternatives to toilet paper:
1. Recycled toilet paper
Recycled toilet paper is made from recycled paper products. While it is still flushed away like traditional toilet paper, it causes a significantly less impact on the environment to produce. Being made from recycled material, it ensures that no new trees are being cut down to make the paper and causes less disruption to our forests
Bidets are another option and are very common throughout the world. They make a great alternative to traditional toilet paper, as they use just water to clean up. Many consumers are still involved in toilet paper use alongside a bidet, but only a few sheets which significantly cuts down on their consumption rate. There are many easy bidet attachments nowadays that can be easily applied to an existing toilet as well.
3. Bamboo Toilet Paper
Bamboo toilet paper is made from one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet. The rapid growth in which bamboo grows, as well as its durability, makes it a great alternative to conventional toilet paper. Bamboo toilet paper is not only sustainable but also biodegradable which helps with toilet paper waste management. Check out our bamboo paper products that are just as soft and durable as traditional toilet paper. We also offer bulk toilet paper, so that you can enjoy savings while helping the planet. Plus, we offer a line of fun toilet paper for kids that makes it easy to teach them about sustainability.
4. Reusable cloths
This is likely the hardest alternative to see catching on, but it is still a sustainable alternative to traditional toilet paper. Many consumers have designed their own “treatment” process for these cloths, which allows them to keep them separate from all other items and clean them entirely, as well as discard the cleaning waste in an easy manner. By making this switch to using a cloth, you would be significantly cutting down on your toilet paper use.
While some of these options may seem easier than others, any small change you can make to reduce toilet paper in landfills is an important step. The longer continue to practice the same habits when it comes to toilet paper and other paper products, the more destruction we will do to the environment. At Reel, we're on a mission to make sustainability easier. Our line of recycled paper towels, bamboo toilet paper, and more make is easier than ever to shop sustainably.
By making the change and becoming an ethical consumer, you are directly reducing the demand for traditional paper products that are causing these problems and helping push forward sustainable solutions to replace them.