We all go, well, potty, and most of us employ the use of ye ol’ toilet paper. Of course, there is almost an entire continent that goes another route, but today let’s just assume everyone reading is on the roll.
And I promise to keep this short because, uh, I am talking about toilet paper. Yep.
Believe it or not, when I first started answering God’s call to keep the earth, a few people actually asked me if I would continue using toilet paper. It was literally one of their first questions. After the initial shock had passed (it still seems like a fairly personal inquiry to just plop out there), I would point to how caring for creation means caring for my body too.
Humans are part of creation. As the ancient story goes, humans are drawn up from the dust of the earth and breathed into life by God (Genesis 2:7). Our persons are creation. There is nothing separate about us.
A professor offered a beautiful quote from Allen Watts on this topic during our last day of class:
“We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated "egos" inside bags of skin.”
-- Watts, On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, 9
Just think about that next time you are on the throne.
All jokes aside, I think the bathroom can be a gateway to sustainable practice and perhaps even to a more rooted way of being human. It certainly is a place in which I find it difficult to escape my creatureliness. The challenge is to find that creatureliness beautiful and good as does our Creator.
SAY, WASN’T THIS POST SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT TOILET PAPER?
One very quick switch in sustainable practice many may make is to purchase TP made from post-consumer recycled paper, in bulk, and plastic-free.
- Post-consumer Recycled Paper – My heinie hygiene is important, but not important enough to deforest the Amazon(!!!). If we are so privileged as to use paper to clear our rears, lets at least use something on its second or third life.
- Bulk – It dawned on me that we will always, always, always need to tidy the nethers, so why not keep a good store of bathroom tissue? It makes sense and saves cents to do this.
- Plastic-Free – Even the best eco-friendly TP at the store comes wrapped in plastic, which seems sort of self-defeating to me. While I had been reusing that plastic to line the bathroom waste bin, I really wanted to reduce all single-use plastic from the toilet area.
And I am here to say that it can be done. Even within a grad-student & minister’s family budget.
The best deal I found was with the Georgia-Pacific Envision brand. Click over to view the complete details (we use Amazon because we get free shipping).
We received our TP stash last week and, wowee, is it a lotta rolls to see at once. However, plastic is in no way part of the equation and I do not have to worry about running out of paper until at least August 2025 (just kidding—we’ll probably need to replenish sometime in July 2016).
So, there you have it—an incredibly quick switch for a more sustainable lifestyle. Buy bulk toilet paper.
A FEW NOTES:
- No space for 80 rolls of TP? Split an order with a friend or two. You all will reap the benefits!
- Can’t spare the cash for the stash? If you do find yourself in a position where bulk is not an option, just remember the five R’s of sustainable consumption:
- Refuse – Request to simply carry your TP without a plastic grocery sack. #banthebag
- Reduce – Purchase as many rolls as you can at once in order to minimize the amount of overall plastic packaging.
- Reuse – The plastic wrap from conventional TP can be used to line waste bins or pick up dog poo (yet another reason why plastic grocery sacks are obsolete—there are, unfortunately, plenty of other plastic bags around).
- Recycle – If it is an option in your area, stick that plastic wrapping and all cardboard tubes in recycling receptacles.
- Rot – Make sure the paper you purchase is biodegradable, especially if you have a septic tank.