“Where are you thinking of going next?”
“Mexico maybe. Have you been? What are the toilets like there?”
“They are the sit down kind, but of course you won’t want to sit on them. You’ll need to bring your own paper – and they put the used loo paper in a bucket beside the loo. Don’t flush it.”
Yes – that’s right - a bucket beside the loo. This is actually pretty common in many countries around the world where the sewer system is less than optimal. Many places in Greece (including bus stations) have squat toilets with a bin beside the loo set up. It can be smelly, and can’t be too hygienic – I’m sure I don’t have to paint you a picture.
Loos in Egypt, by comparison, were often surprisingly clean. This is because Egyptians usually don’t use toilet paper, but have a water spout that squirts up after you’ve used the loo to wash your bits with. Like a kind of built-in bidet. I can hear you going ‘eeew’ as you read this – but I remind you my friend – the poshest hotels in the world have bidets.
Until recent history toilet paper was considered a luxury item. I remember as a young girl, my Grandma, who grew up in the Depression, telling me that they used to save the tissue paper that apples came wrapped in to use as toilet paper.
|A toilet paper roll made beautiful by artist Yuken Teruya|
I’m not suggesting you need to give it up – but toilet paper matters. Why? Toilet paper is made from – well paper. And as we know, not all paper is Good. If we are not careful about our choice of toilet paper – it could be coming from old growth native forests. As people are fussy about their bums, toilet paper is often softened, coloured and bleached with chemicals that get flushed away with the paper, and end up in our already strained sewer systems. Everything that goes into the sewer has to be processed – more energy is used.
Don’t forget about the packaging. The plastic packaging used for many toilet papers is not easily recyclable – that is you can’t put it in your mixed recycling bin, which means most of us just put it in with the ordinary garbage. Remember plastic lasts for – well pretty much ever. So your best bet is to buy a brand that comes in recycled paper packaging.
The only brand I have come across that meets all of my criteria is SAFE, manufactured by Merino. SAFE is endorsed by Planet Ark and one of the brands recommended by the Wilderness Society. ABC Tissue make Naturale, which according to their website looks like a pretty good option. Unfortunately I have not seen this one in my local IGA as yet, but you may find it in your local.
Now if you are going to start telling me that using recycled toilet paper is like using sandpaper on your bum – then it’s been a while since you’ve used some. There are several options out there on the market, I am not going to list them all here – you know what to look for.
If you can’t find a Good toilet paper that is soft enough for your posh derriere – get a bidet.