Friday, March 26, 2010

waste...and the waste that accompanies it

I hate to buy things just to throw them away. I think that I become more aware of things like this as the years go by. It's not that I didn't think about how wasteful I was when I was younger, I just think about it more and more now.

I've just gotten over a cold that kept me in my bed for almost all of Wednesday. I think I used about a roll of toilet paper to blow my nose. (We don't buy facial tissues. Cardo used to use paper towels as tissues, but we haven't bought paper towels in something like a year and we finally ran out of them completely many months ago. I swear that man would use sandpaper on his nose if it was readily available.) I hate opening a new roll of toilet paper -- and that's another thing: we buy toilet paper in bulk from Costco and each roll is (wastefully) individually wrapped in a waxy kind of paper -- and I hate having to replace it less than three days later.

I know that some people think the use of handkerchiefs is revolting, and I know that many, many, many people think the use of cloth toilet paper (also sometimes called family cloth, family wipes or cloth wipes, as it isn't paper, of course) is beyond revolting, but what do you, my handful of readers, think?

I really do hate the idea of flushing all of that money down the drain (ha!...yeah, I know).

I've been hearing about toilet cloth (as I would like to call it) for quite some time. I like to think that most people have, but then I have to remember that not everyone is into the same reading/listening that I am (duh).

The Organic Sister has a kind of how-to post, "TMI Alert: Cloth Toilet Paper." When I say "how-to," I don't mean anything graphic. I just mean she discusses how they use toilet cloth in their home (actually, their previous home, as they are now traveling in Benny the Brave). I have this blog post bookmarked...just in case.

I've also heard talk about it in an NPR interview of the family from the movie No Impact Man (I still haven't seen the movie). When Neal Conan asks Michelle Beavan about the issue most people seemed to want to focus on, the no-toilet-paper issue, she seemed to be so over the topic as something, well, scandalous. Her tone, her acceptance of cloth wipes, makes me question my own hesitation about trying cloth wipes.

Oh, yes, and I just (as I was typing this) read this relatively dated (I'm talking in interweb time here) post on The Green Daily: "Could you give up your toilet paper?" I thought the comments would be interesting and would represent mature thought and debate. Mainly not, though. I am so tired of the argument that using things like cloth napkins or cloth toilet paper will use up tons of water because then you have to wash those too. Um, yes, you throw that stuff in with the rest of your laundry. How big do some people imagine cloth napkins to be? (This is the first time I've seen the argument regarding cloth wipes, but my counter remains the same. I don't think anyone is suggesting we use beach towels as toilet cloth.) As far as I know, producing paper also uses water.

Actually, go read that very short blog post and skim through the comments. Many of the commenters seem to be very angry and vehement about wanting to continue to use toilet paper (which is what Mayville-Cox, the writer, says she plans to continue doing, although she does use recycled toilet paper). Who would have thought this would be such a heated issue? I've never read anyone talk about their cloth-wipe use as a means of absolute salvation for the planet.

I'm always disappointed when I read something really interesting online, something that has the potential to generate some great discussions and the comments spiral off into ugliness and disrespect. Wow.

I haven't read the article Mayville-Cox references and I'm unable to pull it up, but I'm interested in what the writer of that article had to say.

Anyhow, I've spent entirely too long on this post and browsing around for information on this post. I'll leave you with a couple of browsing links: cloth wipes and handkerchiefs. (I'm gathering from my reading that cotton flannel is a good option for both cloth wipes and for handkerchiefs.)


Of course, before I took off, I had to at least look up "how toilet paper is made." Here's a quick video.

"How Toilet Paper is Made"
[Videos like this are strangely enthralling to me. I'm not sure if YouTube has changed a bit or if I just clicked on a strange video. I can't find the little bit of information on the video that usually shows up on the right side of the video for me. I'm not sure what this television show is, but I'm going to guess it's from the Discovery Channel. :)]