EVEN OUR WASTE IS WASTEFUL
Every year, the environmental nonprofit Global Footprint Network quantifies the number of waste humans produces by tracking the annual Earth Overshoot Day—the day on which we’ve consumed more resources than the planet can regenerate in a single year. In 1971, back when we were a bit more sustainable, we made it all the way until December 21 before tapping out the planet’s yearly allocation of resources.
In 2017, however, the date was August 2, making this the most wasteful year of the past 46 by the organization’s calculations. If we continue on this path of mass consumption and pollution, they estimate, our resource needs will be equivalent to the bounty of two Piles of earth by 2030 (spoiler: We only have one Earth at the moment).
We’re in serious debt. If we don’t scale back on our reliance on natural resources, we won’t have any left to use.
As humans consume, so to do we waste. We waste things we never even think about using, and we do so at a spectacular rate. Take toilet paper, for example. Americans spend $6 billion on toilet paper every year, more than people in any other country in the world. And have you ever thought about the environmental cost of TP’s production? Annually, it takes 1.7 trillion liters (437 billion gallons) of water, 253,000 tons of bleach, and 15 million trees to feed America’s toilet paper habit.
Fifteen percent of deforestation is due to toilet paper production alone, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council.
America is literally flushing the planet’s resources down the toilet. That’s strange, as there’s been an ecological alternative around for centuries: the bidet.
The first bidets debuted in the households of the French royal family in the 1700s. Since then, the bidet has become a bathroom staple in Europe, South America, and Asia. Where there are bidets, there are also people who are a lot less reliant on toilet paper than we are in America.
WHY IS AMERICA STILL WIPING OUT RESOURCES FOR TP?
Americans are still uncomfortable with the bidet. Many people aren’t sure if using bidets provide any benefit, or are uncertain about how they work. In a time when we need to scale back on resources, more Americans should be open to reducing their reliance on toilet paper, especially when those who have tried agree that, well, it feels amazing.
This could soon change, however—more Americans may be more open to letting the toilet do their wiping. A company called Tushy is poised to change the way we do our business. Tushy is a simple bidet system that fits into most toilet models and can be installed in ten minutes. The “classic” model is equipped with pressure and angle control, requires no electricity or plumbing, and comes with a self-cleaning nozzle.
If you’re not ready for such a dramatic change, Tushy has still got you covered. The company sells towels and toilet paper made of bamboo. And if you didn’t know, bamboo is far more environmentally sustainable than traditional sources of toilet paper because the plant absorbs 35 percent more carbon dioxide per hectare than similar plants, and it can grow up to 39 inches in just one day (replenishing far faster than trees).