How’s it going? Have you been following along? Did you take inventory of the products you use on your skin everyday? Check out my update at the end of today’s post. On with week 3! I cannot possibly host a Family Eco-Challenge without addressing one of my biggest bathroom pet peeves…toilet paper. Okay, my problem isn’t with ALL toilet paper. My problem is with toilet paper that is made from 100% virgin pulp. I wrote a post a couple of years ago about this very issue, but I thought that since we are making our way through this challenge I would address the issue again. This week’s challenge is to switch to toilet paper made from recycled fibres.
So, what’s the big deal? What does “virgin pulp” mean? Well, as you stand in the paper goods asisle at the grocery store, you are surrounded by fibres that are made from virgin pulp. Virgin pulp simply means that the pulp used to make the paper is new, never been used before…fresh from the tree to pulp. It does sound lovely and clean and perfect for making toilet paper. Except when you start to think about how much toilet paper one person uses in a week, a month, a year, a lifetime. It adds up to a lot of toilet paper, a lot of virgin pulp and a lot of trees. Not only is it a lot of trees…it’s a lot of trees that we are cutting down, transporting, processing, using and flushing down the toilet. There is a totally viable alternative.
Okay, what can we do? Read the labels on the toilet paper packages. Seek out toilet paper that is made from recycled content. The higher the percentage of recycled content the better. Generally speaking these recycled fibres are sourced from cardboard and paper scraps (magazines, etc). The pulp that is made from these fibres is cleaned and processed into toilet paper. Never fear, toilet paper that is made from recycled content is just as soft and absorbs just as well as the virgin pulp rolls. The only difference is that this results in fewer trees being cut and more paper products being recycled into useful items. I love this idea. According to Natural Resource Defence Council around 423,900 trees could be spared by replacing a 500 sheet roll of virgin fibre toilet paper. My butt is not so delicate that it cannot be cleaned with recycled paper products…and that’s the bottom line.
Week 1 Update: We still haven’t filled either our smaller garbage can or our larger compost can. Pretty great result.
Week 2 Update: After taking a closer look at the cosmetic and personal hygiene products we us, I could see that we are doing pretty well. Most of the products we use fall into the low-moderate risk range. Except the make up (which I seriously rarely wear make-up) I use. Which means I will be making a trip to our local eco-friendly make-up counter to remedy the situation. After all the mascara I wear is on my eyes…which happen to be one of the major entry points for pathogens into our bodies. Did you take inventory? How did you do?