The way we clean our butts is astronomically wasteful.
Picture Mars. Mars is unimaginably far away from Earth. It’s “close approach,” when it comes nearer to Earth than at any other time, happens about every 26 months. The closest close approach ever recorded, in 2003, was 34.8 million miles. That’s 4,395 Earths arranged end to end.
But maybe we’re getting a little too celestial here, and you’re wondering what this all has to do with toilet paper.
In America, the average person uses about 57 squares, or 19 feet, of toilet paper daily. With about 326 million Americans, a rough estimate of daily toilet paper usage comes out to almost 6.19 billion feet a day, or 1.17 million miles.
All this math means that Americans use enough toilet paper to stretch from Earth to Mars, at close approach distance, every 29.66 days. That’s an astronomical amount of toilet paper.
And that astronomical amount of toilet paper requires an astronomical amount of resources to produce.
There’s the obvious fact that, as a paper product, trees must be harvested by gas-guzzling equipment and hauled to manufacturing facilities to undergo an energy-intensive process that turns hard trees into soft paper. On top of that, and much less known to the public at large, is the tremendous amount of water that toilet paper manufacture requires.
On average, a single roll of toilet paper requires 37 gallons of water to produce, much of which becomes unusable wastewater.
Flushing 37 gallons of water, in the form of hundreds of feet of toilet paper, every couple of days just to clean the leftover poop in our butts is more than just an unsustainable waste. It’s a really crappy way to use the ever-diminishing resources of our planet.
Toilet paper is not the future of butt cleaning. The future of butt cleaning is bidets.
A Whisper bidet owner uses about eight ounces of water cleaning their butt on a per poop basis. That’s only one cup of water, compared to the almost 4 gallons of water used to make the average American’s 57 daily toilet paper squares.
And speaking of toilet paper squares: Whisper users only require about three for a quick dab-dry, resulting in toilet paper usage rates as much as 90% lower than using toilet paper alone. Switching to Whisper over wiping is one of the biggest changes a person can make toward living a more environmentally-friendly life.
One day — ideally before actual humans, and not just our toilet paper habits, have reached Mars — we’ll realize that updating our butt cleaning habits with a bidet is more than just a cleaner way to live, it’s a giant leap for mankind toward a sustainable future.
Written by Andrew Tobia
Illustration by Meia
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