Using soft toilet paper is worse than driving a hummer in terms of carbon footprint. So this week I’m campaigning for a more natural solution that I’ve tested for almost a year now.
Why toilet paper is evil
1. Production, wrapping, shipping
Production, wrapping and shipping makes using especially soft toilet paper worse than driving a hummer in terms of global warming. Even recycled toilet paper uses paper that could be used for something else, it takes water and energy to produce, requires plastic wrapping and transport, and pollutes the water with which you flush it.
1 in 7 cut trees is used for toilet paper. On average every person uses 50 trees in his life for toilet paper. Deforestation accounts for 17% of CO2 emission – more than all transport does.
Killing treas means killing animals: 9000 animals are killed every day due to deforestation.
Forty species will go extinct in the next 30 years if we don’t change anything:
Paper made from wood would be brown. But we want out toilet paper to be white, because brown makes us think of poop, and we don’t want to think of poop while wiping our ass.
So the pulp and paper industry, which some say is among the worst-polluting industries, uses chlorine to bleach it, which then is released in the environment. By the way, chlorine free bleaching still contributes to CO2 emissions.
Why water is more healthy
75 percent of the world’s population cleans itself with water. Sadly, this is such an alien idea to most western countries that even usually media-invincible Will Smith got sideways glances when he bought a paper-free bidet toilet.
But how do you use water? I will explain in a bit, and give you all the information you need. First I’d like to explain why it’s not only friendly for the environment, but also for your own body.
Using water is more hygienic than toilet paper. If you have lots of Nutella on your cheek, rubbing it of with paper surely is less effective than using water. The same goes for your lower parts.
Especially for people suffering from haemorhoids (aambeien), inflammation of the bladder (blaasontsteking), or any kind of irritations in that area, using water is helpful. Also, it is argued that the chemicals used in any kind of toilet paper, also the unbleached version, aren’t great for your health. This especially goes for recylced toilet paper, that is often contaminated with BPA.
There are 3 options if you´d like to use water:
1. Using a small water bottle (so not the litre ones). At home you might even use a water spray for plants, I thought about this just now so I will need to try this to say whether it works.
2. Using this amazing 10 euro device that fits on your water bottle and transforms it into a bidet (which means it sprays with power). I’m not affiliated with the company, but I ordered them to test them and you can actually win one! See the end of the article to find out how.
3. Using a luxury bidet: like this handshower you can attach to your toilet, for 50 euro.
Personally I’ve just used the free water bottle, but I think the other options will pay themselves back as well since you don’t need to buy toilet paper.
Last but not least, you need a small towel or something else to dry yourself afterwards, just like you would dry yourself after showering I suppose. If you’re elsewhere, a handkerchief will do as well. And if you have nothing, it’s always better to use a teeny bit of toilet paper to dry, it’s always less than you would use otherwise. If you’re environmental conscious you might cut any old cloths or use left over socks for the drying part.
Actually the first half year I didn’t even dry myself, I just shaked the water of a bit.
How to use water in 3 steps
Regardless of the method you use, the 3 steps are the same.
But first I’ll answer an important question you might have:
Do I get poop on my hands?
In this year of testing the method with a water bottle, it happened once. But actually that’s not more than happens with toilet paper. And you can wash your hands, remember? So let’s get started.
1. To prepare: After you did your business, remain seated but shift forward a little bit, so you create more space behind you. Open the water bottle and hold it in your right hand.
2. Slowly bring the opening of the water bottle towards your buttocks, 1cm above them, so actually the lowest part of your back, and as close to your skin as possible. You may open your buttocks a little with your left hand.
3. Slowly poor water. Usually you don’t even need to rub your anus or anything. If you feel like you need to, wait until after you’ve emptied half the bottle so you’ve removed any stool in case it’s there. In total you’ll need about 400 ml if you do a number 2, maybe less if you use a spraying system.
When you’re done: use a small towel (at home) or handkerchief (at work) to dry yourself. If you start practising, the toilet seat may get a little wet as well so you might need to dry that, too.
If you only peed it’s more simple to direct the water bottle on the front side. If you practice this for a day or two, it doesn’t take more time than using toilet paper anymore.
Joining MY BUM SUPPORTS TREES week
Ready to take some action for more eco-friendly toilet habits? Or would you like to see for yourself if the water method works for you? Join in the challenge of not using toilet paper for a day on Thursday the 8th of May. Obviously you can do it for the whole week or practice a bit before that as well.
Program of the week
There are activities this whole week:
Monday: Join in and win this amazing device that fits on your water bottle and transforms it into a bidet (which means it sprays with power)! Like my Facebook post on the challenge to let me know you’ll join in, and I’ll let you know on Thursday if you won the bidet. Increase your chances of winning by taking a tree supporting pic of yourself (it doesn’t have to be in hotpants :-) but especially if you’re a man I encourage it).
Tuesday: Toilet humour day. Although humour about our toilet business is welcome any day, this day is fully devoted to it.
Wednesday: Serious practice. Ask me any questions to be fully ready for tomorrow.
Thursday: My Bum support Trees Day! The challenge is on..
Friday: Share your opinion and any tree-supporting pics.