Monday, March 16, 2015

A new Etiquette de Toilette: Let's stop flushing forests and wasting water

My strategy is cheap, easy and hygienically superior
Or get zestfully clean with one of the new, high-tech bidets.
        When you slip into the restroom for a little tinkle, you probably don't realize that you are participating in massive environmental genocide -- but you are. Millions of gallons of water swoosh down the tubes every day, even as water becomes an ever-more precious and limited resource, and the specter of global drought and conflict looms (the U.S. has declared water a "national security issue"). On top of that, more than the equivalent of 9.8 million trees are flushed down the toilet every year, according to Claude Martin of Worldwide Fund for Nature. The expanding global demand for toilet paper has resulted in an assault on forests in both the  Northern and Southern hemispheres by paper companies competing to fill a seemingly inexhaustible, rapidly growing consumer demand for ever-cushier toilet paper. The U.S. alone uses 30 billion rolls a year.
    To make matters worse, the Sanitary Industrial Complex is succeeding brilliantly in its marketing of "flushable" wet wipes for adults ("They get you so clean, you can 'go commando'"), which are gumming the gears of plumbing networks around the nation. According to yesterday's  New York Times, the city has spent more than $18 million in the past five years on wet wipe-related equipment problems.
    My solution mitigates my impact on this forest and water misuse by close to 80 percent.