Flushing trees down the toilet
How trees are being wasted
If I ask you: Do you know how much toilet paper a human uses in his life, would you know the answer? Have you ever thought about it? You might be surprised by my question and think I am slightly off. I think it is a legitimate question and noticing how things are going in the world, seeing how our environment is being destroyed, we should realize trees are used for making paper, including toilet paper.
Before we dive into this issue, which is quite serious, I would like to tell you some interesting things about the subject of this post.
Not everybody can afford to buy toilet paper and in some parts of the world, there are no trees. It so happens that 4 billion people do not use toilet paper. That is more than half of the world population.
It seems that 7% of Americans steal rolls of paper, be it from hotels or from motels. I must say, that is something new to me.
In 1891, a patent was granted to Seth Wheeler of Albany, New York and creator of the tear-off sheets. He was the founder of Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company, the first company that sold toilet paper on a roll.
We know that a baby needs approx 10.000 diapers. More often than not, these diapers are full of chemicals and bad for babies and the environment. Then the time comes when babies do not wear diapers anymore.
People use a lot of toilet paper
From the post diaper age on, people will need toilet paper (or an alternative) all their life. It seems we need 3 rolls a week, so you can make your calculation of how many trees are needed. It appears that 384 trees are needed for this duty during our lifetime. This is terrible, especially as we need 7 to 8 trees yearly just to meet our oxygen requirements. That shows how important trees are in our life.
Then comes the fact that using toilet paper is not the best method to get clean. A bidet is a more hygienic solution but of course, a private bidet is not always available.
The company, Procter and Gamble manufactures Charmin toilet paper. This paper is a threat to our climate, indigenous communities, and woodland caribou. The fiber that is needed is taken from huge areas of Canada’s boreal forest. Between 1996 and 2015 more than 28 million acres of the boreal forest were logged. That is a lot of cleared forest simply to wipe our tender derriere? Not a good idea, and I think there are better uses for the forest.
The following YouTube video shows you the beauty of the Canadian Boreal forest. We should do our best to preserve this unique ecosystem.
The many different inhabitants of the forest
Do you know who lives in these forests? Some fantastic animals, like wood bison, elk, moose, woodland caribou, and black bears and grizzly. Then there are also wolves who roam the forest. Smaller species like beavers, snowshoe hares, Canada lynx. red squirrels, lemmings, and voles. In total, there are 85 species of mammals that call these forests their home. These forests are known as the “Amazon of the North”.
When you know that Charmin toilet paper has no recycled content, but is made from virgin forest fiber, it is very disturbing. These forests form a crucial line of defense against climate change. We know these trees store many millions of tons of carbon. When used as toilet paper, the product quickly decomposes to CO2, CO, and methane, in the natural process of decay.
This 28 million acres of multiple years of carbon sequestration, is being released back to the atmosphere. We should not allow that and really try some alternatives.
The sins of big companies
Proctor and Gamble is doing more things that need close scrutiny. For instance, they use palm oil in a number of their products, and you know the destruction of the rain forest in Indonesia is directly linked to the planting and harvesting of Palm trees. This company, as well as Mondelez (the producer of Oreo’s), Nestle, and Unilever, all contribute to the rain forest destruction and harm our environment. They do not have a clean reputation.
I think it is clear by now that an alternative should be found. This will reduce the impact on the forest, reduce the carbon footprint, contribute to the oxygen production and (for those who flush to a city wastewater treatment system), reduce the costs of wastewater treatment.
Amazon has some eco-friendly toilet paper where the company plants 3 trees when using 1 tree. I think that is a great idea.
Another possibility is to buy Hemp toilet paper. This you can find online with Alibaba, the only problem is you have to buy a large quantity to make it worthwhile.
Once again, for human consumption, nature is destroyed. Think about the consequences. I do hope you will decide to at least not buy this type of toilet paper anymore. Chose a company that shows respect for the environment and when taking trees, plants new ones.
Source: Friends of the Earth, December 2019
Photo Source: Pixabay
One should ask how come these big companies can do these things. It depends on the regulations that exist to protect the environment. When leaders annul the laws which were put into place by previous leaders you can imagine how much harm this can do.
Lately, this seems to become quite common, taking good laws away and replacing them with harmful ones. You might like to read the following post which talks about such a situation.