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Which Is Worse? Hummers Or Toilet Paper?

Americans may have come to the point where average consumers frown upon Hummers, but for some reason, we draw the line at toilet paper. We believe so strongly in three-ply and cottony softness that many of generic viagra discount cheap us equate recycled toilet paper with cardboard. Toilet paper pushers from Kimberly Clark to Georgia Pacific tout the higher quality of their soft papers and sales for the high end brands like Charmin Ultra and Quilted Northern Ultra have increased by 40% in some markets, according to a recent NY Times article.

Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defence Council are fighting back with campaigns to get Americans to consider the dosage cialis toll of using luxury toilet paper. Greenpeace last week issued a national guide for consumers ranking the toilet tissue brands on the basis of their environmental impact. The guide is available for downloading here.

So how bad is our toilet paper habit, really? The product that we use for less than three seconds extracts a larger ecological consequence than driving Hummers, according to Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the NRDC. More than 98% of all toilet paper sold here comes from virgin wood. The NRDC's position is that no forest of any kind should be used to make toilet paper and Hershkowitz wants to see toilet paper go the way of incandescent light bulbs – out of the mainstream.

But it may be a hard sell. Americans, who use an average of cheap levitra without prescription 23.6 rolls per capita a year - more toilet paper than citizens in other countries—three times more than the average European and 100 times more than the average person in China. Europeans and Latin Americans are also less demanding about the usefull link buy cheap generic cialis quality of their toilet paper, with up to 40% of toilet paper sold in those markets derived from recycled products.

“I really do think it is overwhelmingly an American phenomenon,” said Hershkowitz. “People just don't understand that softness equals ecological destruction.”

Slowly the message is getting out. At the Kodak Theater last week during the Oscars, all the bathrooms were equipped with only 100% recycled paper. If it's good enough for Mickey Rourke's behind, it should be good enough for yours.

Via Guardian, NRDC
Image Via NY Times

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Comments (37)Add Comment
written by mojo, March 11, 2009
this is kind of funny. i think the recycled toilet paper we have here in germany is at least as soft if not softer than standard toilet paper in the u.s. . even relatively ungreen visitors from america have commented on that... so maybe this whole article and 100mg viagra professional campaign is nonsense, especially because it´s saying if you want soft toilet paper you should buy virgin wood TP, which is not true. wood is hard, TP should be soft. so it´s simply a question of technology.
bum guns
written by bum gun, March 11, 2009
the bum guns of thailand/cambodia/malaysia are healthier. high pressure water through a hand held nozzle about 3/4 inch in diameter. just couldnt go back to paper.
written by Dave Larin, March 11, 2009
I find it funny that the North Americans have such a horror of their own waste that they wad up oodles of paper for fear of getting close to what they have produced. A small quantity is all that is needed . As far as facial tissue well I have been berated for using a hankie and I am glad to see that I have been such a conservationalist by refusing to go along with the price check 50mg viagra idea that holding a cloth in yuor poscke that you blew your nose into is disgusting. I think North Americans must change their attitude toward what really is disgusing the destrustion of life so they do not have to come close to their crap!

Much nicer to sit under a tree then turning it into toilet paper.
Paper comes from tree farms
written by Duncan, March 11, 2009
What's absurd is that trees are grown on tree farms to make paper. These groups want attention getting headlines- worse than greenwashing as these are the people we want to make things better, not spread misinformation to get attention.

Think of pharmacy levitra corn, if everybody stopped eating corn would there be more or less corn fields in a few years? Stop using trees from tree farms and pretty soon those tree farms will be strip malls and a plat of Macmansions.
Toilet paper made from sea weeds is best
written by Ferric, March 11, 2009
Seaweed derived TP has an excellent user feel, the gelutinous nature of the sea weed's carrageenan provides a velvety caress while at the same time providing a very high efficiency particulate transfer ratio.

Did I also mention that Seaweed is a renewable resource?
Nothing "cardboard" about recycled at al
written by green_grrl, March 12, 2009
I don't know about the other brands, but both Green Forest and Trader Joes are a soft, comfortable 2-ply that I would put up against a "standard" brand any day. (Green Forest used to be easily available at Target, but isn't anymore, dammit.)

I'm glad to hear from mojo that German recycled is also soft, as I remember the European "macho wipe" of the '80s. ;-)

As for facial tissues? NOTHING is softer than a handkerchief. Switching over saves both forests and your nose.

Plus? Cutting down trees for virgin paper to wipe our *sses and snot is just evil.
written by russ, March 12, 2009
This is a campaign by the green mafia as much as anything else. Their motto - just be against???? - the against being the keyword!

In Turkey the toilet has a built in butt washer with a separate valve. Very convenient - much more so than the hose with a spray nozzle.

A cold spray on the backside reminds you to save water as well.

I liked the comment about the Euro 'macho wipe' of the 80's - made me think of crepe paper when I saw it and not at all pleasant.

Handkerchiefs are gross! Yuk!
Thanks for writing this article.
written by Gene, March 12, 2009
I'm glad I've been buying the recycled stuff the last couple of times. Now I have incentive to continue in the face of some recent nay saying.

An American.
written by Magnulus, March 12, 2009
Am I the only one who HATES really soft toilet paper? Well, I know I'm not the only one, but I seem to be the only one here. I personally prefer the tougher paper. The tougher, the better. I'm only happy when it's one step away from 50-grade sandpaper. ^_^

Also, when I lived in Iran for a month with my father, I was very suspicious of the butt-washing hose... However, after having badly cooked meat while travelling around the country, I welcomed that soothing, cold stream. MMmmm....
written by Bram, March 12, 2009
How the hell can anyone use 26 rolls in one year?! If you need that much TP, you're either a woman with an overactive bladder or you need to fix your eating habits.
Everything is related!
written by Miguel V., March 12, 2009
I think the large TP usage by USA people is related to the relative high rate of obesity found in that country. This may also related to need of using cars and trigger the usage of large cars
23 thats it?
written by dumpy, March 12, 2009
I probably use twice that (high fiber diet) but who knew it was all virgin wood?... Sad.. I like recycled paper, if it wasn't already brown maybe people wouldn't shy away
Toilet paper companies make the recycled
written by mike, March 12, 2009
They could make recycled toilet paper more appealing to the brown eye. At the least they could make the middle ply the John Wayne Toilet paper (don't take crap of no one)
Why use paper at all?
written by S P Arif Sahari Wibowo, March 12, 2009
The place I grew up, it is common to have "wet bathroom / washroom" where are the washing are done with water, and so the floor is wet. We washed our bottom with water and soap. Not only it is much cleaner, we uses zero paper. I would be happy to keep doing it here if only they make wet bathroom / washroom here (I still try to use water if possible, using paper only is so unhygienic).
Softer does not equate better
written by Ken, March 12, 2009
Much os the North American soft TP is overated. Remember the old Sears and Eaton catalogues in the privy (in the country) years ago. I don`t think we should aim quite that low again, but there are TP`s that are less soft which make a better `wipe`than the super-soft types and they are cheaper to produce since recycles paper can be incorporated into the how to get levitra in canada production of these. There are problem, however, in sewage treatment of less fragile paper types (facial tissues for example) that tend to clog up the filters in sewage treatment plants. Perhaps the German solution may be suitable.
written by carolathome, March 12, 2009
I wouldn't mind using recycled TP if it were the least costly for me. It's not. Not to mention, our toilets are not usually equipped with washing facilities. The cost of installing that here would more than double the initial outlay. And the toilet facilities I've seen in Japan are little more than a hole in the floor. Now THAT'S disgusting - having to crouch over a hole like a bear squatting in the woods. And I fail to see the link between SUV's, obesity and TP???
written by adam, March 12, 2009
Im never occurred to me that you can buy Toilet paper that ISN'T from recycled fibers..In Sweden its almost impossible to find Toilet paper made from virgin paper.
FYI you can buy it in all different types of qualities and softness, all of it is white, and you would never know that it isnt recycled.

...And its been like this for years.
Trees are Crops
written by Jim, March 12, 2009
Do you think that the paper industry would be stupid enough to cut down all the trees at their dsiposal and not replant? These are not old growth forests we are talking about, these are renewable crop resources. If it becomes cheaper to produce t-paper from recycled fiber vs. trees then then the industry will do it. The main question is should we continue to use paper produced from any fiber source? I kind of like the hose idea, how refreshing. I think Mickey Rourke should try it first for a year and let us know what he thinks.
bad title; chemical concerns
written by Kate, March 12, 2009
Yeah... I came to this article thinking, "Lol wut? To start, Hummers aren't biodegradable..." but then saw what the article _actually_ meant - that TP from virgin wood is a baddie, not that all TP is evil. Anyway...

I'm with the person who pointed out that this virgin wood TP is made from renewable sources, i.e. tree farms/forests maintained by the companies that use them. Perhaps a bigger concern than where the wood material comes from is how the material is whitened; virgin wood TP tends (or tended) to be whitened using chlorine dioxide rather than the more environmentally-conscious use of oxygen, sodium hydroxide, and peroxide. That's apparently changing, however...

Although, if anybody wants to buy me one of those bidet deals, I'm all for it... maybe...

written by gary, March 12, 2009
recycled toilet paper? that's just too gross! I always make sure I buy the stuff that has NEVER been used before!
Composting toilets
written by Jon, March 13, 2009
I think that we should be moving towards composting toilets...not only are we not polluting our environment, we're actually creating something healthy to place back in the soil.

And think of all the water we'd be saving!
written by MarkR, March 13, 2009
Or we could do like the peasants in Afghanistan, and wipe our butts with our left hand and save water by not washing our left hand and we could crap on the side of the roads so that it would be used as fertilizer. But then lefties (as in those who wright with their left hand, not the pinko commie bastards who want to socialize america) like my self would have problems like writing with "crapy" hand. Or we could do like the kings and queens of eons ago, and hire all the unemployed people to spend their time in restrooms to wipe our back side for us. Last but not least we could let the Obamination and his minions pass billions of dollars on pork projects for some scientist to figure out how to evaporate crap from your backside without disturbing or damaging the click here free viagra skin tissue and without using hands at the same time turning the crap into pure energy and putting it on the grid to sell.That all sounds Craptastic to me!

On second though, I'll just keep using 3 fresh new squares each time I wipe and just try! buy xanax online wipe 3+ times per dump.

and your right I'll buy a hummer before I buy John Wayne toilet paper for personal use.(you know because it like J.W. it doesn't take crap from anyone.)
23 rolls / year / capita ?
written by hyperspaced, March 13, 2009
What are you guys eating? Laxatives?

Oh, btw, using recycled paper is not at all green. Ever wondered how recycled paper gets it nice white color? Chemicals. Just use LESS (and eat LESS for that matter - hahaha!!!)
Greenpeace & NRDC can put it where the s
written by Fred, March 13, 2009
Really, is there no area too small for these eco-nazis to stick their unwanted noses into? My sparkling-clean nether regions are my own private business, strictly between my Toto (and my Charmin) and me.

Wise up-Ecogeeks, this is a ridiculous crusade for you. Let the TP be compostable - yes. Let it be produced with less chemicals - yes. But farming trees for TP usage is a fine and healthy thing; no matter what the clueless NRDC has to say about it.

And BTW, I threw away my nasty composting toilet a few years back ; I'll stick with my eco-healthy septic tank, thank you very much!

If you REALLY want to promote good resource management and water conservation, mandating septic instead of sewage for every home is the way to go.
written by Mr. Sinister, March 13, 2009
If my toilet paper usage is my biggest contribution to environmental devastation, then I feel pretty good about myself. What about all the folks out there who get the daily newspaper, read the comics, and toss the rest? Or subscribe to a stack of magazines which they don't read? Or for some reason still feel it necessary to print their e-mail?

Somehow I think there are a lot bigger fish to fry than toilet paper.
Recycled TP doesn't come from old TP
written by cmdc, March 15, 2009
Seems like this should go without saying, but recycled tp comes from old newspapers, expense reports etc. NOT from used toilet paper.

I'm not giving up toilet paper until I get my own house and install one of those kickass japanese toilettes with hot and cold water jets and a blow-dryer for my tush. A girl's gotta dream.

But I do agree making toilet paper from wood is moronic. I must again beat the where can i purchase cialis drum for hemp, my favorite fiber factory. One year life cycle and less energy intensive to process. So instead of fighting the existence of tp, which is a mighty uphill climb, push recycled tp and buy discount cialis get fiber from hemp, bamboo and other fast-growing renewable resources. (Yes I realize that tree-farms are renewable resource, but they are ridiculously inefficient).

written by BenInBrooklyn, March 19, 2009
DON'T WIPE YOUR BUTT WITH VIRGIN TIMBER - That's what I tell all my friends and family. If you live in NY, you can get Marcal, a NJ-based recycled toilet paper maker, almost everywhere, and its cheap to.
written by RyanW, March 19, 2009
I tend to use charmin ultra strong, not because it is soft but because it doesn't come apart and leave dingleberries which is rather gross.

The eco stuff I've seen is ridiculously priced for some nasty looking stuff. I imagine that is because it's a niche rather than mainstream product.

I haven't really tried many brands as who wants a bunch of nappy toilet paper? I bought one eco brand that was on sale but haven't tried it yet.

Consumer Reports did a study on the best toilet paper several years back. The brand they reccomended by their test measures (most flushable and whatever) left a ton of dingleberries.

I'd prefer not to even discuss these matters but need to look reality in the face (or in this case the ass) if you want make good decisions.

written by Pleasantp, March 19, 2009
All the more reason to start using a BIDET. The U.S. is the last developed country to fully embrace bidet use. Maybe because we usually think of it as a requirement for a "House of Horozontal Refreshment".
You can now buy bidet attachments for an ordinary toilet seat for around $100.00. It's refreshing, helps shrink those pesky little hemorrhoids and is much more sanitary then toilet paper alone. If everyone switched to bidet use -- toilet paper sales would drop by 98%! And you wouldn't have to worry about searching for "soft, non-skid" paper.
Try Goggling "bidet" and you'll be surprised what's out there. Sure,you can spend $5,000 for a Japanese temperature controlled, oscillating, warm air and powder puff supplied model......but it works no better than the $100.00 standard unit.
written by adam, March 20, 2009
i cant believe this big hang up..if any of you came to Europe, you wouldnt even notice the difference in quality of the Toilet paper that is based on recycled fibres..because there hardly is any difference!!!!!
paradigm shift time
written by Justin Lawrence, March 20, 2009
toilet paper has got to go.. what a disgusting idea... smearing your poo away with a piece of a tree. i'd love to have heard the inventor trying to convince his friends all those years ago. i don't imagine we'd be that keen on the idea if we had to chop the trees down and link for you cialis soft convert the wood into paper ourselves. viable alternatives: seaweed, spray gun, or check out the toilets at google.
written by Marci, March 20, 2009
Water usage vs. toilet paper usage? Which is better for the environment?: Yes bidets don't produce as much waste to be processed or clog up filters. Compostable toilets seem the best, but try retrofitting apartment buildings which have the best land usage leaving more green space.

Recycled paper vs. paper from wood from tree farms?: The trees help with the CO2 problem. Which takes more energy to process? Get over the brown color of unbleached toilet paper, really, it's all in your head. Your ass won't notice the color.

I would hope that if recycled is greener in terms of energy consumption and the recycling of CO2 from the toilet paper tree farms doesn't offset this then recycled toilet paper prices would out-compete virgin toilet paper.

The one positive thing for white toilet paper,I would say, would be in a quick monitor of the color of the feces for monitoring for possible blood in the stool and possible colo-rectal problems.

But whatever it is we do need appropriate hygiene(regardless of how we achieve it) and we do not need Hummers. BTW I have heard that the term hummer has a slang connotation and it's source is probably not well known. So you might think about that before buying one. Don't ask, don't tell! Hmmm!
how can you only use 26 rolls a year????
written by Eric, April 03, 2009
I use one roll every 2-3 days how in the heck does anyone use that few? do you guys like save up all your craps for a week or something? granted i have a horrable diet of fast food for lunch like 5 days a week, but I eat at home for all the other meals, I just thought everyone uses the same amount as me?
Recycled is often softer
written by Karl, April 17, 2009
Years ago when I worked at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the U starting switching to the recycled paper TP. The custodial staff still had quite a bit of the "virgin" stuff, and used to put it in the loo that was just for us staff. Well, we asked them if they could put the canadian pharmacies cialis recycled paper TP as it was softer than the pure white institutional stuff it was replacing. Running those fibers through the pulper a second time made them nice and soft compared to the once processed stuff.
written by Louis, February 23, 2010
I remember seeing bidets when I was kid in Montreal.
The problem lies in the fact that I work at an organic
farm and we have a Clivus Multrum non water using composting toilet.
written by NoelieTREX, March 12, 2012
I am proud to say that I am an American who uses 0 toilet paper. I have reusable toilet cloths that I toss in a bin and treat like cloth diapers for laundering purposes. It's a perfectly hygienic system, the cloths are always soft, and no trees were kept from producing oxygen to be flushed down my toilet! I highly recommend giving it a try before you pass judgement.
written by Sami, October 30, 2012
As a nation we definitely overuse our resources. That is why it is important to use recycled toilet paper as well as limit the amount that we use. It cuts down on your spending as well. How does the US compare with the rest of the world overall in the saving the environment?

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