Here’s a little bathroom reading that could help reduce deforestation.
If you’re still hoarding toilet paper from the early COVID buying frenzy, you’re not alone. Millions of consumers stocked up as lockdown rules went into effect leaving store shelves bare. (But not bottoms!) It was our first pandemic, after all, and some things are worthy of hoarding in oh-no-it’s-an-apocalypse times. Next to coffee, wine, and chocolate, is anything else really more essential than toilet paper?
But all that hoarding got one deal-hunter thinking about our TP problem.
“Toilet paper manufacturers often use confusing terms to describe the strength and efficacy of their products,” the New York Times notes. “Descriptors like ‘jumbo,’ ‘super,’ and ‘mega’ are hard to quantify; some companies claim that one roll of their toilet paper is now the equivalent of four, or that their toilet paper is stronger or capable of cleaning better than the competition.”
When panic-buying we’re less likely to pay so much mind to the descriptors. But we’re a year into this new normal. We’ve got time to read labels.
Victor Ly, best known as TofuVic told the New York Times he created a spreadsheet to calculate the price per sheet. That became the Toilet Paper Value Calculator. It lets consumers input criteria like rolls per package, sheets per roll, and price per package.
“With a price point for reference, you can easily figure out if a sale is actually a good deal, so you can save time while shopping both in-store and online,” Ly told the Times.
While the savings at retail are a bonus, there may be another benefit worth soaking up: saving our carbon-sequestering forests.
The Issue With Toilet Tissue
Toilet tissue comes from trees, and only a small percentage of what’s sold is made from recycled paper. The rest is from virgin forests, and it’s a big problem.
A report released last June by the Natural Resources Defense Council highlighted the tissue issue. One million acres of the Canadian boreal are clearcut each year — much of that for toilet paper.
“By making toilet paper from ancient forests essential to the climate fight, tissue companies are flushing away our forests and our planet’s future,” said Shelley Vinyard, NRDC’s Boreal Campaign Manager and report co-author.
The report called on leading toilet tissue manufacturers to clean up their toilet paper production to help save forests and curb climate change.
“Instead of exacerbating the climate crisis, companies like Procter & Gamble must take urgent action to create more sustainable products,” Vinyard said. “Our planet has no time for the largest companies in the world to take half-measures or deflect blame.”
While the Toilet Paper Value Calculator doesn’t account for sustainability, it does take into consideration the best value. And that means consumers can opt for the products that go the farthest and use fewer trees.
It’s also important to consider how much is used in a “sitting” and trying to be as economical as possible. Fold, don’t bunch, for example. When it’s time for number one, dab, and move the tissue around to maximize soaking, rather than using excess. For number two, maybe it’s time to go paperless and invest in a bidet. Europeans have been using it for years with great success.
So what is the best toilet paper buy? “After looking at hundreds of data points, I came to the conclusion that the deal price for quality toilet paper is 0.253¢ per sheet,” Ly says. But even he is doing a solid for the planet. “I may be known as the ‘Toilet Paper King’ but I’m actually a traitor to toilet paper,” he says. “I have a luxurious bidet at home, and it is truly a step up from even the highest-quality toilet paper.”