A lot of trees are cut down to make traditional toilet paper, tissues, napkins, and paper towels. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
Consider switching to cloth napkins. Use cloth rags for cleaning. Use cloth hankies. You can even use cloth toilet paper or no toilet paper! The toilet paper one sounds weird to most people at first, but it’s way less weird once you try it!
Most people do the cloth toilet paper by keeping a container of small cloth strips on the back of the toilet. But there are even fancy cloth strips that snap together in a roll and can be put on a traditional toilet paper holder. People wipe with the cloth – most people only use them for pee, but do whatever works for you – then toss it into a hamper. Not weird at all, saves trees, and you buy way less toilet paper, which saves you money.
As for the people who use no toilet paper, not even cloth, most of them use water or soap and water instead. They may keep a squirt bottle, and sometimes soap, on the back of the toilet to rinse/wash off.
Most people who use cloth toilet paper or no toilet paper keep a paper roll on hand for guests.
If you’re not ready to make the switch to cloth yet, or if you want to use a mix of cloth and paper products, or if you just want a paper roll on hand for your guests, then look for paper products that are made from sugar cane, bamboo, or 100% recycled paper.
Sugar cane and bamboo grow a lot faster than trees, and they grow back when cut, no replanting necessary. They also require less water than trees and don’t need fertilizer or pesticides.
Recycled paper products make use of all the paper we put to the curb in our blue bins. Some of it’s bleached though, so look for a label that says “100% recycled” as well as something like “chlorine-free.” Make sure the wrapper is recyclable too.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we would save over 450,000 trees, over a million cubic feet of landfill space, and over 150 million gallons of water if everyone in the US traded just one roll of regular toilet paper for just one recycled roll just one time. So imagine what a switch to cloth, no toilet paper, or recycled toilet paper would do if we all did it every time!