Editor’s Note from Ian Gregg: Ever think about the consequences of using toilet paper? Here’re some eco-friendly reasons to consider switching to a bidet.
Toilet habits don’t make for the best general conversation, but how we dispose of our waste is a huge environmental issue and one we need to all consider in relation to our own impact.
We tend to flush and forget – not realizing what leaves a sewage waste-water treatment works isn’t exactly crystal clear, pure water in most cases.
It doesn’t have to be a problem – as mentioned in my article on humanure, poop can be a great fertilizer and our pee is precious too.
Toilet paper is another thorny issue – there seems to be a great deal of resistance to toilet paper made of recycled material. Many of us use toilet paper products that are whole or in part made from old-growth trees.
So why not get rid of the toilet paper altogether – or at least the vast majority of it?
Enter the bidet.
I have never, ever used a bidet. The thought of water shooting up my clacker isn’t the most inviting prospect, however, to bidet users (and there are many, many millions of them – particularly in Europe, Latin America, East Asia, or China), using great wads of toilet paper probably elicits the same sort of reaction.
What is a bidet?
The “water shooting up my clacker” is one of the first misconceptions dispelled in researching this article as there are all different types of bidets.
The word “bidet” has it’s origins in France. Translated, it means pony.
Essentially, it’s a low mounted sink designed specifically to wash the nether regions. Some bidets have a tap arrangement, others a jet that sprays or shoots water in the target region. Your hand or cloth is used for scrubbing, the water washes you off, then a quick dry and you’re done.
Given that many bathrooms don’t have room for a bidet, there are now kits on the market so you can easily and cheaply fit a bidet type arrangement to an existing toilet.
OK, so you use less toilet paper – but what about the extra water use?
When you consider how much water goes into making a roll of toilet paper, around 37 gallons, it’s not a bad deal – particularly when also taking into account the trees cut down and chemicals used in making toilet paper.
However, where there might be a bit of a question is with some of the fancier bidets that warm the water and also include a blow-dryer.
If a bidet really doesn’t appeal, give some consideration to recycled toilet paper (meaning paper made from recycled materials other than toilet paper of course) – it’s come a long way over the last few years and may not be the sandpaper type experience you have had in the past. You’ll also save trees, chemicals and water by making the switch to the recycled stuff.
Toilet trivia: Toilet paper on a roll didn’t appear until 1890.