Thursday, November 10, 2011
Is Our Environment In The Toilet?
My mind became consumed with toilet paper. Crazy, right? But think of all the little things you do and how they might add up. Plus, there are now a staggering 7 billion of us on this planet with over 3 million of us in the U.S. alone. Think of how much paper that is! Well, I have been doing exactly that. Thinking about it. According to The Toilet Paper Encyclopedia (yep, there's a toilet paper encyclopedia) the average person uses 20,805 sheets annually. Times that by roughly 3 million (just in the U.S.) and well, you get the point.
So I was talking with my mom and she says, "You know, they have a tubeless toilet paper now. No cardboard." No, I didn't know this. How did I not know this?! Perhaps because I don't have cable. Anyway, my mind ventured to a whole new place. The cardboard, of course, the cardboard! I was so focused on the paper itself I completely forgot about those pesky tubes.
The maker is Kimberly Clark, the company that produces Scott brand toilet paper. The 17 billion toilet paper tubes produced annually in the USA account for 160 million pounds of trash, according to Kimberly-Clark estimates, and could stretch more than a million miles placed end-to-end. That's from here to the moon and back -- twice. Most consumers toss, rather than recycle, used tubes, says Doug Daniels, brand manager at Kimberly-Clark. We happen to recycle our tubes, but yikes! That's a lot of waste!
Now, I just wish some of my favorite eco-friendly brands such as Seventh Generation would catch on. But I will definitely be keeping my eye out for these the next time we run out.
Of course, you could go a step further and go toilet paperless all together. Yes, people do this. There are reusable toilet wipes. That's right, wipe and wash. There's no paper, no cardboard, and no packaging. Sounds great, but I am just not there on my green journey. We use cloth diapers and have cut our use of paper towels to almost none, but this is still just a little much for me. If you are up for it, I say more power to you. I salute you!
So for today, my mind's in the toilet. Let's try to be conscious of every thing we do. The little things add up to big waste. Less is More!
By Erin Rose