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

24 thoughts on “Goodbye Toilet Paper

    • Hello friend. This is my journey, I feel passionate about it so I need to follow that. I hope I can inspire people to find little things they do think they can do and that don’t feel too odd to them. Maybe something I do will sound doable to you. We each follow our own path.

  1. I think this is awesome!!! Do you need to dampen your wipes before using them? I also do the ‘yellow mellow’ thing which irritates hubby SO much! I’m still trying to remember to collect our wee. Skye often wee’s in the garden anyway 🙂

    • Yay Sarah glad to hear I am not alone in the madness. I don’t dampen mine but I think you could see what works for you. Having a SheWee competition tomorrow, enter and you can wee outside, so no yellow to annoy husband. Call me the marital conflict resolution service 😀

  2. I really do think you are inspiring but I just don’t have the time to do a project like this. Especially me sitting at a office the whole day. (Not that I don’t think you’re not busy). But I just don’t have the time for this either.

  3. You ARE inspiring Sally. When we camp in the bush we use wetwipes – which i love much more than toilet paper – so its just an extention of that idea.

  4. Yar… erm… thanks kindly for the invitation and all, but I’m going to stick with my traditional method.

    I’ll do my saving in other ways, but more power to ya! 🙂

  5. Wow, you are really inspiring me here! I love following your progress qs you take up the challenge to help save our planet. I definitely consider myself green but thus far have been more of an armchair advocate. The biggest leaps I have made have been to start buying only organic produce, plant my own veg, raise my own hens, switch from commercial shampoo to bicarb and apple cider vinegar, and use bamboo cloth nappies for my son (which I really regret not doing with my daughter). I am now really thinking hard about reusable wipes – why not? I’m already washing nappies – what’s the difference? I will report back once I’ve twisted my husband’s arm!

  6. OK. I am not fully understanding this. You use the cloth and then throw it into a bucket of water?

    You did get me thinking. A lot. I don’t think that my DH will go for it though.

    • Julia I have a bucket around with nappies in anyway but once Titus is out of nappies then yes I would have a small lidded bucket next to the toilet with a small amount of water in it with a drop or 2 of tea tree or lavender oil in the water. Throw the cloth wipes in there and then just throw the whole lot with the small amount of water straight into the machine.

      I would love to write a book, maybe if enough people are ever interested I will.

  7. How do you manage cloth wipes when out and about (for nappy bums and big bums 🙂 ) Mine always dried out too much, so I used flushable wipes for out and about for Skye, but now hardly need them for her bum and more for her face lol!

  8. Mmm, no, I would not be able to do it. If someone made a pee and didn’t flush I can usually smell it before seeing it, and even outside pees I can smell, while they are doing it, not after 24 hours.

    We got a closed bin for kitchen waste and you’re also not suppose to smell that according to the pamphlet, but I think it stinks and my husband doesn’t even want to go close to the thing.

    So I’m really absolutely horrible at being green…think I’m more of a red. Sally is saving the planet and I’m destroying it. But I’m still reading your blog and noticing everything you’re doing and keeping it in the back of my mind.

    • Renee not all planet saving needs to be smelly. You will find your thing. Your way to help that sits right with you. Keep reading and tell me when you find it. Thanks for being honest

  9. I love reading about all the things you are doing. I do of course think you’re a little mad! But that never harmed anyone! However, not something I’m too comfortable with. But glad you’re following the path you want to!

    I need to start at the beginning first – like recycling and compost heaps.

  10. No I will definitely not be doing this. If Joshua has wee’d in the garden I smell it and go ballistic. As for leaving it in the toilet to mellow – when we have had no water for a day we had no choice. All I can say is eeeuuuw 🙁 And washing wipes, I gag at the thought. I didn’t even use cloth nappies when J was little, couldn’t bear the thought of washing them.
    But having said all that, good on you for doing this and for doing your best to do your bit. You certainly have more courage than I do with things like this.
    P.S. Any nice guest houses in your area? I don’t think I will stay with you LOL (ONLY TEASING!!! couldn’t resist 🙂 )

    • Guests get toilet paper and their own toilet so you don’t have to let anything mellow or deal with washable wipes 😉
      This is my journey I don’t inflict it on others ( unless they happen to be my kids or the reluctant Geek)

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