I wouldn’t consider myself a hard-core environmentalist. I can’t imagine a situation where I would chain myself to a tree, but I do try to do my part. I recycle, reuse, and repurpose where I can, which is why I hate #6 plastic because my city won’t recycle it, prefer cloth napkins, and my jewelry-making pliers holder is an old baking soda can. I try not to waste. I don’t litter. I don’t take a bag at stores if I really don’t need one. I don’t pour industrial waste into the ground and water supply, nor do I store depleted uranium in my garden shed. Any fool knows you keep it in a coffee can under the sink.
However, according to some, I have been blithely destroying virgin forests multiple times a day, more when I’ve eaten too much fruit or drunk too many beverages, because I am a) American, b) female, and c) absolutely against using cheap, scratchy toilet paper. I am a diehard Charmin user; it is one of the very few brand-names I insist upon in my life. (I also won’t eat store-brand sandwich cookies, but that’s another post.)
It seems that the quality Charmin TP I prefer comes from new paper fibers, which are easier to fluff than recycled paper fibers. I’m not averse to recycled paper products in principle; I buy recycled printer paper and have bought recycled paper towels. Sheesh, some of my best friends are recycled paper!
What I object to, however, is using what amounts to 80-grit sandpaper on my tenderest of vittles. I use the cheap stuff at work and in public restrooms out of necessity. However, at home, I accept nothing but the best. I’ve never understood the point of one-ply anyway. You have to use twice as much to do the job and protect your hand, so where are the savings, I ask you? You may as well get the good stuff.
I am to understand from the aforelinked article that the use of “luxury” toilet paper, described as 3-ply or infused with lotion, is worse than driving a Hummer. As any sane person knows, there’s little worse than driving a Hummer, especially when you’re driving it outside of Iraq or on a military base. So apparently, I’m raping the environment slightly less with my classic 2-ply than some others. Perhaps I’m only driving a Suburban, if we continue with the automotive analogy.
I am not entirely convinced that old-growth forests are being cut down just so I can clean my keister. I grew up in Wisconsin, and have seen acres of carefully lined up trees planted specifically for paper production. These are trees in no danger of being deemed “majestic”; they’re spindly little things that grow up straight and tall to be hacked down, made into pulp, and face their destiny of wiping up dog vomit off my tile, among other things.
If I were to be offered a recycled product that was as gentle on my bits as my Charmin and didn’t cost $10 a roll, I would happily switch. But I make frequent trips to the bathroom; my Indian name is “Acorn Bladder,” as a matter of fact. There’s no freakin’ way I’m going to voluntarily live the misery that is repeated assault with cheap, rough toilet paper for the sake of the environment. I am truly sorry to say it, but there it is. I am not giving up my Charmin; Mother Nature is just going to have to deal.