Saturday, February 26, 2011

Eco Friendly Toilet Paper

It happens a lot. More than I would care to admit. You know what I'm talking about. You're in the bathroom, sitting down on the toilet about to take care of business when you notice the roll of toilet paper is nearly empty. (And just in case you were wondering, when I say "taking care of business," what I mean is "taking a poop on the toilet," but you might personally refer to it any number of ways: "having a BM," "taking a doogie," "dropping a deuce," etc. I'm just trying to keep it somewhat clean around here, no pun intended.) You break out into a cold sweat because of the predicament you're in. If you proceed and use the last of the toilet paper it will be your responsibility to replace the roll. However, if you're careful you might be able to use just enough to get the job done but making sure to leave some left over for the next user who would then be responsible for replacing the roll.

So it is probably at this point in the article, for those of you who haven't stopped reading it already, that you are wondering why I am talking on a topic such as this. I would have to say the reason I decided to write on this topic is because...well...everyone poops. And since everyone poops, toilet paper is a necessary luxury item in our life. Speaking of everyone pooping, there is an excellent book called Everyone Poops (My Body Science Series) which is a must read for adults and children, especially for any of you who are trying to potty train a child or adult for that matter. Since we've now established that everybody poops I thought it might be nice to talk about a few of the problems that come along with it, the biggest one of course in my mind, is from sitting down to do your business and finding the toilet paper roll nearly empty.

So what do you do when this happens? I'll tell you what I do. I try to get the job done with the least amount of toilet paper possible, knowing that if I can even leave a square or two on the roll I won't have to worry about replacing it. It's a little like playing Russian Roulette, only bathroom style. Every time you sit down you are taking a chance that the roll may be close to being empty. Is it going to run out on you? Are you going to have to replace the roll with a new one? There's no way you can know or even predict how messy things might be when you first sit down, making it very tricky to determine how much you are going to need. So the real question is, how lucky are you feeling?

What happens if you sit down and run out while you are halfway done with the job? Now you're in a real predicament. Sometimes though, believe it or not, this can be the best scenario because if you are not alone in the house you can yell until someone brings you a new roll, making the replacement a snap. You literally don't even have to leave the toilet seat to do it.

I have sometimes sat down to a toilet only to jump right back up before even starting just because I was lucky enough to realize there wouldn't be enough toilet paper to complete the job. But I'm not kidding when I say that I'd rather take care of business in another bathroom of the house or perhaps take a leisurely drive to the nearest public bathroom than to have to ration my toilet paper and replace the roll when I'm done.

The saddest part of this whole process is that it really doesn't take a whole lot of effort to replace a roll of toilet paper. I mean, ours is stored on the top shelf in the laundry room and it doesn't even require a step ladder or chair to retrieve it. In fact the process of replacing the toilet paper usually takes less time and effort than it does to take care of "the business" in the first place. Yet despite how easy it is I still manage to wind up with a huge knot in my gut every time I notice the toilet paper roll is nearing completion and that I might be the one stuck with replacing it.

A positive from all of this, however, is that I find myself being a lot more conservative with the toilet paper when it's near the end of the roll. When I know there isn't much left on the roll I use only as much as is absolutely necessary. Instead of the usual 4-5 squares (I feel so vulnerable sharing such personal information), we're talking 2-3. I have yet to get to the 1 square per wipe that Sheryl Crow so valiantly suggested a few years back, but believe me, I've thought about it a time or two but I believe The Doors said it best in their song Break On Through...with just one square I'm too worried about my fingers breaking through to the other side.

So it seems that the ends of the toilet paper roll are great for the environment. I mean, if it causes people to use less squares the closer it gets to the end of the roll, well, that's a good thing, right? Follow me on this: if it takes less squares of toilet paper to take care of business, then not as much toilet paper will be used, causing less toilet paper to be made, leading to fewer trees being cut down for the purposes of toilet paper-making. It's a wonderful "green" cycle of life. For toilet paper.

So I was thinking, which is never a good thing, that if we really wanted to save trees by using less toilet paper, maybe we could convince toilet paper companies to makes rolls with less toilet paper on them to begin with. The idea is that by doing this it would give each roll of toilet paper the appearance of being almost empty, so that people would inherently use less for fear of having to replace the roll. If a roll of toilet paper normally has, let's make it easy and say, 100 feet per roll, the toilet paper companies should instead take that 100 feet and spread it over 5 rolls. So for the price you'll be getting the same amount of toilet paper but less on each roll.

Think about what this one small act could do for our environment and it's precious resources. It's simple, it's easy, and it's a way for all of us to contribute without feeling like we're sacrificing. I could honestly see this becoming such a hit that even a guy like Al Gore would add these rolls of toilet paper to the 15 bathrooms at his house. So I call on toilet paper companies everywhere to take my simple yet effective suggestion into consideration, if not for yourselves, then at least for Mother Earth. To use a sports phrase I would like to say that the ball is in your court, toilet paper companies, and so (please let me use a common bathroom phase here) either "do the business" or get off the pot so someone else can.


James said...

I tried the one square method once and my digits broke through, you know what I'm saying? Now Im a 6 sheet guy regardless. Oh yeah, replacing the empty roll is overrated

Jared said...

haha. Thanks for that comment James.

Anonymous said...

nice one - i need some of that stuff.

Life is just too funny to be taken so seriously