We all have to use the toilet rather regularly during the day. How we clean ourselves afterward differs a lot in different cultures but most of us still use the old fashioned toilet paper. It is easy to use and you can buy it everywhere. It is also great it often serves multiple purposes besides cleaning ourselves. It is also great for spills and to use in and around the house but, it is rather wasteful. So, what alternative is there to the good old toilet paper?
Who gives a crap
This is not really an alternative to toilet paper but it is a much more sustainable option. Who Gives a Crap was founded by a crowdfunding campaign in 2012. The founders, Simon, Jehan, and Danny, learned across the world, about 2.3 billion people don't have access to a toilet. This means that approximately, 40% of the global population and about 289,000 children under the age of five die every year from diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. This is almost 800 children per day, or one child every two minutes.
They have 2 types of toilet paper:
This one made from 100% forest friendly bamboo. This toilet paper is completely biodegradable which means it is also ok for the ones who live off the grid and use a septic tank.
These are made from recycled books and office paper and are also biodegradable.
Of course both types completely free from scents, ink, dyes, and plastic.
Another benefit is that Who Gives a Crap donates 50% of its profit to building toilets for those who need it. How awesome is that?
More sustainable toilet papers are out there but I personally love the mission of Who Gives a Crap.
A bidet is basically a shallow toilet used to wash after you have used the toilet. This may sound a bit strange at first but this is common practice in lots of places around the world like southern Europe and Asia.
On average, one person in the US use about 10 rolls of toilet paper per month. There are about 320 million people in the US which results in about 10x12x320 million= 38,400,000,000 rolls of toilet paper that are flushed each year.
One roll of toilet paper requires about requires 37 gallons of water, 1.3 kilowatt/hours (KWh) of electricity, and some 1.5 pounds of wood. A bidet uses about 1/8 of a gallon of water peruse.
The benefits of a bidet are, next to being very environmentally friendly, it keeps your hands clean and it can improve your genital health by avoiding rashes from wipes.
Reusable toilet paper
Using reusable toilet paper is a more advanced option but is great in combination with a bidet. In this case, you use them to dry yourself after the water has cleaned you.
Reusable toilet paper is basically using a piece of cloth to clean yourself and wash it in the laundry so you can use it again. This might sound it bit yuk… (poop in the washing machine… iew…) but as I have been using cloth diapers for years, this step is not that far fetched. You just need a good washing routine to make sure everything is properly cleaned. I wash them with the cloth diapers which are similarly dirty and therefore receive the same washing treatment. You can read the entire washing routine here.
I use the wipes by making them a little moist using a small sprayer prior to use. Then I store them in a box that can be closed.
Of course I have a few rolls of Who Gives a Crap toilet paper for guests. I would not want to share my cloths…
I hope this information gives you better insights into the alternative to regular toilet paper. Whether you make a big change by switching to a bidet and or reusable toilet paper or make a smaller change by chooses recycled toilet paper, just remember that each step counts, no matter how small.