Battle at the Ballot - not for your Toilet

We know election season can be tough to weather through the slogs of political speak to find a positive change. Whatever your preference is on the ballot this election in November, we implore you to vote Green in your bathroom for a change you can feel. The staggering amount of resources needed to supply the world with toilet paper every year is hard to understand without a proper context.

Most of the statistics below will reference the world consumption of toilet paper or regional specific – however, United States is by far the biggest culprit of tissue consumption around the world. More than 4 billion people do not use toilet paper on a daily basis, and most of the places around the world that use toilet paper use it only as a method to dry. If the more populous places in the world used toilet paper as often as we do in America, the calls to switch to bidets would have happened years ago.

Many times you will hear statistics that seem to be staggering but contain no point of reference: “we use 27,000 trees every day for toilet paper! In your lifetime, you will use up around 384 trees for toilet paper! There are 7 billion rolls of toilet paper printed each year just for Americans! The average American uses 50 pounds of toilet paper every year!”

Let’s look at those statistics a different way: if you replaced your toilet paper usage with a bidet, those 384 trees that your butt will cut down during its lifetime would absorb 9.9 million miles worth of a normal sedan sized car carcinogens, or about enough times to drive to the Moon and back 20 times (or around the world 400 times). Now multiply that statistic by the 3 billion people that use toilet paper and you have to stop wondering why no one has been able to drive to the Moon yet. Thanks Obama.

If Americans cut their paper consumption by just 1/4th their average total, we would save 356 million gallons of fresh water a year just from the production cost of toilet paper. That does not include the amount of water wasted in flushing the paper down, as that would be near impossible to quantify. That is a very large number to throw around without context, for a reference point, California uses about 100 times that amount every day. It will not solve all resource problems, but it is a step in the right direction on the conservation issue.

The Scientific American did a study that referenced our use of 17.3 Terawatts a year to produce the excess amount of toilet paper each year. Doc Brown might be amazed at that amount, as it is nearly 21,000 times more than his 1.21 gigawatts needed to venture through space time continuum, but to most it is just a large number in a world full of ever increasing numbers.

No matter how large those numbers get when it comes to consumption of toilet paper, the only number that matters is the bottom line. With over 7 billion toilet paper rolls sold in America, it is easily a multi-billion dollar industry that keeps you coming back every year to spend more and waste more. Switching from toilet paper to a bidet won’t solve all the environmental issues, but it is still a positive attempt at improving our future. If you vote Red or Blue at the ballot, we encourage you to vote Green for your bathroom and with your wallet.