December 15, 2009

How soft must TP be?

My sister-in-law brought this article and video from Planet Green to our attention recently, after my husband had complained about her slightly scratchy toilet paper. The article is about how old growth forests are cut down to make the softest toilet paper. The video is from Consumer Reports - an investigative type of piece on how to find the softest toilet paper out there, with many of the best scientific minds around working to solve this pressing problem.

Being consumers of soft toilet paper (though not Charmin), my husband and I were both horrified by this. Of course I knew that toilet paper was made from trees, but I've driven and taken the train across country many times, and there is no lack of trees on this continent. But old-growth trees are another thing entirely, and I still cannot believe they would be cut down for something so... what's the word I'm looking for? Trivial? Mundane? Banal?

My husband is in charge of buying toilet paper and other paper products, and he generally gets the best price at places like Smart & Final. But we agreed immediately to switch brands to a recycled toilet paper that wouldn't endanger old growth forests!

This is the kind of thing I'm glad to learn about but feel so upset that I didn't know. How can this go on? I'm raving, I know. But if you feel like I do, please switch brands immediately. I don't think anyone thinks soft toilet paper is important enough to fell giant trees.

Click here for a guide to where to buy "green" toilet paper. Until we find the cheapest/most convenient item on the list for us, we'll buy the Trader Joe's brand.

Thanks sister-in-law, for helping us Do The Right Thing! And hopefully some of my readers will be inspired to make the switch as well. I'll bet a lot of you knew about this already. Please leave your thoughts on the issue in the Comments section.

10 comments:

hiptobeme said...

We buy the cheapest on sale brand and while it is not the softest, when I think about what I am using it for, I certainly don't flush my money on the soft stuff.

Cate said...

I'm horrified by this, too! My husband SWEARS by soft toilet paper, but maybe this will convince him it's not worth it!

Seven Crows said...

There used to be a great TP made from cotton pulp - "Purely Cotton". I bought it all the time when I lived in the Boston Area and your post made me look it up - seems tit was the victim of bad business decisions. The article I read said someone else bought them but the link to their web site is bad. So sadly they may be gone for good.

Vegan Good Life said...

I've been buying the Trader Joe's brand for some time. It's more expensive than say a regular supermarket private label, but I figure if I can spend money on cable TV, nice dinners at restaurants and such, and I can afford to spend a little extra on this. It's so important to keep the 'recycle' cycle going. We 'vote' with our dollars for the world we want to live in, and I like to vote for forests by buying recycled paper toilet tissue.

Catherine

Reese said...

As much as I'd love to make the switch permenantly--from soft to green--I cant!

I've tried almost every tp under the sun and have come to the conclusion that I just have "sensitive" skin. I use the soft stuff because it makes it just a bit more bearable in the long run.

I hope someone comes up with an eco-friendly option that offers some sort of give with a not-so-agressive chemical makeup.

Anonymous said...

The softest brand I have found is MARCAL, I order it from amazon and get the big box which usually was zero extra packaging and will last a long time and is the cheapest I was able to find that's softer (not Charmin soft).

http://www.amazon.com/MARCAL-Bathroom-Tissue-Sheets-Carton/dp/B002BXTN02/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1261065974&sr=1-5

I've even heard of people using washable wipes that are reused. They are softer than even charmin.

http://ourfarmadventure.org/2008/12/14/toilet-paper-is-so-dumb/

Kate said...

I've been using recycled paper toilet paper for a few months now and haven't looked back.

I went to a co-worker's home the other day and he had the most luxurious toilet paper on the planet. I enjoyed the moment, but I'm not switching.

Julie said...

We've used Seventh Generation's toilet paper for years now and we're fine with it. Like in Kate's comment above, if I come across soft toilet paper at someone's house, I marvel at it, but usually from the standpoint that I can't believe they are still allowed to make that stuff...I visited East Berlin in 1990 about 6 months after the Berlin Wall fell. They were still using the scratchiest, hardest brown-est toilet paper I'd ever encountered in my life and I pulled off some extra, stuck it in my purse, and brought it home as a souvenir. It's still in the container with my piece of the Wall which I broke off myself! :-)(they're both Compacty-y frugal souvenirs, right?)

Julie said...

p.s. speaking of toilet paper, my main complaint about the No Impact Man book was that Colin Beaven mentions a lot how his family quit using toilet paper but then he was all coy about what they did instead. And he mentions how upset he gets when people ask him about it. Hello! People are curious about things like that, and don't bring it up if you can't take the heat. ;-) I hope they didn't use heat on their bottoms...

Anonymous said...

Our family quit using TP about 18 months ago. We use cheap washcloths and have a set just for this purpose. This is absolutely no different than washing cloth diapers. I keep a basket of the washcloths on the back of the toilet, we simply wet the cloth, wipe, and put in a zipped wetbag that hangs on the bathroom door. I wash them 2x per week.