|Could you live without toilet paper?|
Standing in front of the items, formerly known as trees, in the disposable paper product aisle of my grocery store, I spotted the 100% post-consumer variety of toilet tissue (98% of tissue is made from virgin trees). A pack of 24 rolls was $14.00 with tax. It made me pause.
I realized that I am part of a tiny portion of humans that use toilet paper, and it seemed like an outrageous expenditure both personally and environmentally. Millions of trees are cut annually to make fibre for a cleaning method that few use. But the few use a LOT - the bum tissue market is a multi-billion dollar per year enterprise. I decided it was time to change my routine and initiate Sheryl Crow's One Square Limit immediately.
I am adopting the ways of over a billion people on the planet, and have been using water and my left hand. I visited India several years ago for a few months so feel somewhat comfortable with this method. Still, after a lifetime of being exposed to the all pervasive advertisements for the softest toilet paper in the known universe, it is hard to overcome the programming. For the time being I will allow myself one square to dry off afterward.
Taking living with less to extremes, I calculated how long I could stretch my current tp stash. The package has 24 rolls, and each roll has 280 squares. In all there are 6720 squares. That means the pack should last for about 15 years. My patient partner in simple living will need some too, so including her allotment let's say we have about 5 years worth. We're good to 2015.
After that I am quitting toilet paper altogether. The period of weaning should make it a gentle transition to joining the majority of the human race that has never seen ultra-plush, four-ply, pillowy soft tissue. Or scratchy single ply for that matter. One small wipe for a man, one giant swipe for sustainability. Thanks, Sheryl.