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An Alternative to Toilet Paper

Updated on April 21, 2012

The Toilet Paper Dilemma

I made my bi-monthly trip (that's twice a month, not every two months) to K-Mart the other day to buy paper products for my household and after spending over $100 on toilet paper and paper towels I said, there has to be a better way. Well, I'll leave the paper towel issue for another Hub, but as for the toilet paper, there is another way. And, with Earth Day upon us, what better way to start living green than by doing something that will not only save the planet, but that will save your budget, as well.

First, some statistics. When you think of the wasted paper in landfills, toilet paper does not often come to mind. According to the EPA paper makes up about 30% of the waste in landfills. About 10-15% of that is toilet paper. The reason for this is because toilet paper, because of the nature of its use, cannot be recycled. Also, because it can't be recycled it requires virgin pulp in the making process. Approximately 7 million trees go towards America's toilet paper consumption a year. That's 7 million trees a year that are literally going to be flushed down the toilet.

Are You Ready For the Solution?

While some people debate over whether flushing toilet paper or throwing it away is best for the planet, why not remove it completely from the picture? Not all at once, of course. Change takes time, but even if you could reduce your toilet paper intake by half, you would be greatly rewarded. The satisfaction one gets from being able to say that you are not contributing to a problem alone makes this a worthwhile endeavor. Saving money while you're at it is a bonus.

Investing $5-$10 in a little plastic watering can can practically eliminate any need for toilet paper. If you think about it, Japan puts out fancy and expensive toilet bowls that spray your undercarriage with water for a clean feeling--all I am suggesting is a more inexpensive way to do the same. With a small watering can, you can get a cleaner feeling after each trip to the bathroom, and you can eliminate the need for toilet paper.

Now, I'm not talking about those watering cans with a huge sprinkler type head--I mean a simple little teapot looking watering can with a slender neck that--to put it bluntly--can fit perfectly into that convenient little crack we all have in the back. I'll let you figure the rest out on your own.

The Trick is the Design

As you can see from the examples to the right, a slender neck is very important. Also, there are some cans with slender necks that don't curve, they just jut straight out. This might work for you, but you will have to test it out for yourself. The main thing is to find one that can get the job done. If you have kids there are some really cute ones for them. This will be a fun experience for kids, too. Getting them started while they are young will allow them the benefit of growing into conscientious adults. You can feel good about that.

Of course, toilet paper might still need to be employed, at least until you get the hang of it, but you can have the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your part to save our trees and you can even feel good about doing your part to keep a budget.

Basic Tips

Kids might need help at first, but for anyone who is making a change like this it might be tricky for a while. Be patient. Don't despair if you make a little mess at first. Remember, you are saving the environment--and your finances. Make everyone in your household feel like they are participating by letting them pick their own watering can. Especially the kids, just like getting them motivated about brushing their teeth, it helps if they get to pick their toothbrush.

Where do you keep these watering cans? Well, I just keep it on the floor by the toilet. You might come up with a more clever solution for this. If there are a lot of you, you might have to think of something else or else have a crowded bathroom floor. Watering cans aren't that big, but if you have several of them, they do tend to take up some space. But here's an idea--there might be some extra space where you used to stockpile rolls and rolls of toilet paper. Just a thought.


Tell Me What You Think!!

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    • profile image

      taswaib 4 years ago

      In muslim countries and lot of other u countries to I think we use only watercans. Can tell you i get a much cleaner feeling and don't need to think about the paper being discomforting. Ones you get used to it I am pretty sure you won't go back

    • Insane Mundane profile image

      Insane Mundane 4 years ago from Earth

      Good grief, I'd use tree leaves before I start having to use a water can on the toilet ... nor would I start spritzing my own ass, either. LOL!

    • profile image

      SassySue1963 5 years ago

      I do applaud both your dedication to the environment and your creativeness, however, toilet paper is actually now made to biodegrade so has a minimal impact on the environment. Those expensive Japanese toilets have a propelled stream of water. It is not just the water, but the power behind it, that allows it to clean. Furthermore, it is the addition of the water that makes it clean better than just TP. You still need TP. You cannot walk around with a wet bum after all!

      My concern with this method would be children. Yes, you can teach them and all that, but I can still see Johnny just grabbing Jane's watering can. These should also be disinfected after each and every use, and I just don't see that occurring where children are involved.

    • emmaspeaks profile image

      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      It's not for everyone. You have to wonder, though, what did people use before toilet paper? It didn't evolve with us, so for me, the sensible choice is to try to eliminate toilet paper from my life. It's not easy, but I feel like I'm doing something.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 5 years ago from Jamaica

      The alternative did surprise me. Recycled Biodegradable paper seems to be the more comfortable option.

    • emmaspeaks profile image

      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      There's five of us, and a package of 20 rolls costs about $20, so I don't know where your getting your rolls from, but I don't see THAT happening. This isn't for everyone, but in addition to being better for the planet and saving money, it's a better way to clean yourself after you go. It just makes more sense. Toilet paper doesn't always get the job done, if you know what I mean.

    • profile image

      Lisa 5 years ago

      Not gonna happen. Also I spend under 30 dollars for paper towels and tp for a month for 4 people. How much do you use? Start with using regular towels instead of paper. Much easier.

    • profile image

      Ramon 5 years ago

      What a great idea

    • pandula77 profile image

      Dr Pandula 5 years ago from Norway

      An interesting hub! voted up.