This is going to be a rather painful confession. I've got a bit of an addiction. No, it's nothing like substance-abuse or being addicted to chocolate or Facebook. I'm addicted to toilet paper. I use/waste an unprecedented amount of toilet paper. Friends and family laugh about it and always make sure they've got loads of it in supply whenever I come to visit. If I come for a weekend, they proudly show me a pack of nine rolls that they've just bought especially for me, and say, "Will you be alright until Monday?"
I'm a real toilet paper monster. I'm not exactly sure what I do with it. I use it to mop up bits of make-up, to blow my nose (oh yes, I do), and for more conventional purposes too. An innocent addiction, a joke.....is it?
The Guardian Consumer affairs correspondent Rebecca Smithers, has warned the readership that toilet paper is becoming less sustainable: "Analysis from Ethical Consumer magazine found that major brands were using less recycled paper than in 2011, while only five of the nine major supermarkets (the Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose) offered an own-brand recycled toilet paper. The large-scale use of virgin paper contributes to unnecessary deforestation."
It's easy for me to get all defensive about it, "Come on now, you aren't accusing me, personally, of worldwide deforestation, are you?!... And are you suggesting that the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God cares about human bottoms and toilet paper?"
Well, yes. He does. God isn't waiting for some heroic deeds from me that'd prove that I'm a good Christian girl. God wants to see commitment, responsibility and accountability in and through the small choices that I make on a daily basis, the choices that actually have big consequences.
Alex Crumbie, a researcher from Ethical Consumer, said, "Only around 30% of the world’s population uses toilet roll so we know that there are lots of perfectly hygienic alternatives to using paper-based products. It’s important we consider what we’re using to wipe our behinds with, because at the moment our precious planet is getting a bum deal." ...so using toilet paper is not only an unimaginable luxury, but it may not be God's plan for human bottoms, anyway.
For now, I shall stick with my paper-based toilet rolls. But I shall make an effort to buy and use every roll and every square with gratitude. And I shall honour God and his beautiful planet, our home, with more moderate consumption of this luxurious product.
The study by Ethical Consumer magazine recommends Ecoleaf, Essential, Traidcraft and Who Gives A Crap (the recycled paper version).