In this modern world we live in, for most of us there are just some things we never think of going without, and one of them would certainly be toilet paper. Of course, there are those moments in the grocery isle when you realize your favorite brand has nearly doubled in cost, and in order to stay within your price range the ‘budget TP’ starts staring you down, or perhaps that time your husband placed the national debt on your head again because of your liberal use of toilet paper. It’s in these moments that an insane knee-jerk response can come flowing out of your mouth and you hear yourself vow to somehow ditch the ‘TP’ entirely, but would you actually do it? If you can believe it, three women declare that they and some persons in their households have actually gone down that route to be somehow ‘more green’, but is it actually ‘greener’ to go this route? Here are some concerns to think about before you take the use and reuse approach to toilet paper.
There is the number one concern that seems to prevail when this subject comes up, and that is sanitation. So many illnesses and diseases require boiling of said garment to even come close to killing the offending bacteria, virus or yeast. If implemented, the electricity use alone would negate a green move. Also, as the women in the video disclosed, they put their soiled cloth napkins in a pail until wash day. Let’s hope they added a bit of bleach water to that pail as those fond of cloth diapers do. If the household practices do not include a pail of bleach water, one can only imagine the number of bacteria, viruses, yeast and disease that has multiplied as the pile of wipes waits to be laundered. All you have to do is remember science class and watching these things multiply in a petri dish or on bread etc. The image is quite gross to most persons living on this planet. Now, imagine all of that growing in the dark recesses of your washing machine or transferring onto other articles of clothing, especially when washed in the same load. After having to resort to doctors for infections and probably non-organic medicines, this doesn’t seem to fit into the ‘green’ category after all, and most definitely will end up costing you in the long run.
Next, there is the smell. Let’s face it, we all get accustomed to the ‘bad’ smells that we make. Even the smells of our pets, dirty shoes and bad breath become ‘normal’ to the person smelling them all day long. However, to the outsider, all those smells will hit them like a wall of fumes. All you have to do is remember using a port-o-potty on your last camping trip and you get the idea of how those smells could smell to a guest at your home. Not only is this unpleasant, but much research has been done on the effects of bad smells on a persons mood, and none of it is good. After all, aren’t frugal and ‘green’ seekers trying to make the world a better place?
Then the question arises about just how economical or ‘green’ it really is to use a washing machine full of hot water and soap to clean what could be composting in the sewer. Not a day goes by that populations of people aren’t told to conserve water. In what way does adding a load of wash water to the usage help the ‘green’ movement? Then there is the issue of soaps, stain removers, fabric softeners etc. Yes many of these super frugal people make their own soaps, but only a few types are truly organic. If the wash water was hot, there is the cost to make that hot water in your water heater. Is this really frugal or green?
Finally, most people do use their dryers in the winter, if not all the time. This is an energy waster, and if they use commercial fabric softeners they too go in the landfill. Many frugal people do make their own fabric softening sheets using commercial fabric softener or hair conditioner, but think about it; somewhere many megawatts of electricity are being pumped into a factory, and a certain amount of waste is being made in order to create your fabric softener or conditioner. Is this really a savings to the planet? Maybe to your pocket book, but not to the planet. So, if you really want to go green, maybe collect leaves and rinse them in boiling water over a fire, or recycle that junk mail if you don’t mind a few ink smears left behind. There are just some things that we as a society have created to make life a little easier, and quite frankly safer. Taking TP out of the home may prove less beneficial than encouraging ‘green’ practices at the TP factory; after all, millions will never go that green.
For those of us who can’t get past the ‘eww’ factor, it’s only fair to acknowledge these women’s determination to go green and their frugality efforts. Many ‘kudos’ to them; however, it’s a bit ‘too tight’ for this author to implement in her own home. You can see the entire interview of these three women who decided not to use toilet paper anymore in the accompanying video and learn just how they pulled it off in their homes. As for me and my house, we’ll stick with good old ‘TP’.
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