Goodbye Toilet Paper

Now this was really not where I thought I would land up when starting the sustainable year challenge, but hey I am open to going with the process and learning and trying new things. I was searching for information about grey water friendly products when I came across the urine as fetilizer idea which I have blogged about here It has been going well and so far the boys are happily moving around the garden spreading their love and I have my trusty jar in the toilet which gets emptied on the compost heap. And great excitment, tomorrow I go and collect my Shewee from the post office and I promise to let you know what I think.

The children now know the rhyme “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” and I even heard Caleb telling this to a friends husband when they came around for a braai on the weekend. *blush*

Okay so back to the dead trees that we are using to wipe with. The manufacturing of toilet paper cuts down trees and uses a lot of resources to make the white, soft luxury stuff that comes on a roll, we then wipe flush and all those trees and resources are wasted. The amount of trees needed for toilet paper is frightening. Wikipedia says: One tree produces about 100 pounds (45 kg) of toilet paper and about 83 million rolls are produced per day. Human consumes 27,000 trees daily to make toilet paper. Even if we like to fool ourselves that they are not cutting down old forest but special forest made for paper. Stop and think what they had to do to clear an area for ‘special’ paper trees. They had to clear and kill all the indigenous vegetation and animals and plant a single species of tree. This never happens in nature, nature is diverse and works in an eco system. Having an area of just one type of tree needs lots of fertilizer and pesticides to grow as it is a system out of balance. In a normal growing environments in the wild plants fertilize and pest control for each other. These huge forest also use large quantities of water.

And all this so we can wipe our bums of dead trees and flush it away! Recycled toilet paper is a good start but they can’t make recycled paper as soft and fluffy as virgin toilet paper made from new tress rather than recycled paper. Are you willing to have a slightly less soft wipe and save trees and in turn the planet. After all your butt is not that important.

I am going one step further. I have made some reusable wipes from the left over and too small cloth nappies that I have used for the kids. I made one side with towelling and one side with soft flannel. I could have bought new material but I am all about up-cycling and reusing older nappies that I can’t pass on to be used by someone else. This way less resources are used in making these as they now have a new job. I am used to washing cloth nappies and really it is not that hard. So just adding the toilet wipes to the bucket of water with lavender oil in it and then washing the whole lot in the machine is no hardship to me. I just tip the bucket into the washing machine. Is it slightly more work. Sure, but I think our plant is worth saving. Imagine if we all flushed less and used less or no toilet paper.

They actually wipe better than toilet paper and the flannel is as soft if not softer. If you want to make your own try use something you already have at home. An old towel and old t-shirt or old flannel pajamas. Just cut them into rectangles and overlock along the edges.

Would you be willing to use recycled toilet paper?
Are you willing to try the leap for reusable wipes?
(if anyone does not have an over locker and needs me to make some for you, I will use new fabric for yours I promise, please feel free to email me cameronsallyjane (at)
Please let me know if you make your own and how it turns out.

Or am I just mad?

More reading:
Ancient trees for toilet paper
trees of soft paper, what do you choose
National Geographic – trees use for toilet paper
The Daily Green – sustainable paper
Rethink Toilet paper for Earth Day
Wikipedia – Toilet Paper