Friday, November 15, 2013

I Would Do Anything For Love, But I Won't Do That


Queen Composter discusses her toilet paper habits.

Everyone has their line in the sand, the one thing that goes too far. For some people it is too much to ask them to compost their food waste. For others it is too much to ask them to use a menstrual cup.


I believe I have found my line in the sand. For all that I love the environment and would do anything to protect it, I won’t use “family cloth” instead of toilet paper.  As the lyrics of the Meatloaf song say, I would do anything to be more eco, but I won’t do that.

What is family cloth you ask? In the quest to reduce single use disposable items, many people are using small pieces of cloth, like a small face cloth, instead of toilet paper.  The idea is that the cloths can be kept near the toilet, like toilet paper, and placed in a sealed container when soiled or wet. Then they are washed in the washing machine and reused again and again. A quick Google search will bring up hundreds of blog posts on this subject, the pros and cons and how to use them. One of my favourite companies, Luna Pads, sells them and promotes their use

In theory I am down with this idea. After all, I used cloth diapers with all three of my daughters and I use cloth feminine pads. I think nothing of washing them. Why would I throw away diapers and pads when I don’t throw away my underwear?

In my mind, however, using reuseable “toilet paper” just seems different. Without getting too detailed, I think it is the soiled part, rather than wet part, that has me squeamish. It’s just a bit of toilet paper, no big deal, right?

Actually it is a big deal. The more paperless society goes, the less recycled pulp and paper there is available for recycled toilet paper. And all that ultra comfortable pillowy softness we like for our business? It comes from virgin wood, as in not recycled. Never mind that it is bleached to achieve the whiteness we seem to like. We use it for a moment and that’s it. In my family of five we go through a great deal of toilet paper, too. Like many families, we buy ours in bulk.

I have a little secret…

Once in a while, when I’ve run out of toilet paper and there’s none nearby, I’ve been known to grab one of those little facecloths I bought when my girls were babies and use them instead. I guess it is fitting, as I liked using those cloths for reusable baby wipes when at home.

So maybe this isn’t my line in the sand? It would be easy to keep a lidded container like a garbage can beside the toilet for the dirty cloths.
I could easily keep the basket with the cloths (and some reading material)
by the toilet instead of by the bathtub. I use the toilet more than I have bath.

I won’t be adding this to my new year’s resolutions anytime soon because I think this would be a hard sell with my family. I've learned to be careful what I wish for - we taught our girls to only flush for number two and now they never flush, even when outside the home. Rather embarrassing. But it is something I might consider down the road, or perhaps just for myself. 

What about you? What is your eco line in the sand? Have you tried family cloths?


6 comments:

Erin aka Conscious Shopper said...

I laughed at the part where you said you taught your girls to only flush for number 2 and now they never flush. We have that problem too!

Eco Yogini said...

yep, i seriously considered this, especially since close friends of ours did it and love it. (they do keep tp for #2 though, in case and for guests).

here is her post on the topic: http://oceanstreasures.blogspot.ca/2011/02/eycc-decreasing-tree-products-part-ii.html

but.... i gotta say Andrew said a clear NO on the idea so we are still using recycled TP. BUT very interesting about the "less paper for recycled TP" i never considered that!

Angel said...

Have you ever traveled to India? Most Indians do not use toilet paper at all, instead there is a hose installed beside each toilet (or failing that a bucket of water with a cup for washing). Even in public toilets it is quite common for there to be no toilet paper supplied. It takes some time to get used to it, but it is possible to go toilet paper-free.

Anonymous said...

I've been using 'toilet cloths' for a few years, only for #1 though. We still have toilet paper for #2s and guests. I make my toilet cloths out of old towels, then compost them or use them as fire starters when they get too thin or holey to use. I haven't found cleaning them to be a problem at all, only a bit tedious hanging them on the clothesline to dry, but no more than socks or other small items. I now feel guilty when I use public restrooms or other people's bathrooms! lol I haven't gone as far as making arrangements to carry them with me. Hmm...

sustainablemum said...

I think these are my line in the sand too. I would love to cross over it but can't quite make the step. I used washable wipes for both my children when they were in nappies (washable of course!) I should have just continued to use these when they came out of nappies....

We are looking to install a compost, no water toilet at some point so maybe then will be the time....

Anonymous said...

Compromise. Save water. From the Ben Stiller movie, "Meet the Fockers": If it is yellow let it mellow, if it is brown flush it down. What are the pros/cons of a bidet. I love and appreciate indoor plumbing and all that comes with it, and this is my line too. But I'll keep an open mind...

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