I you have ever been to Europe one of your likely memories is the toilet paper. To be more precise, the stiff, rather hard nature of such convenience (you may also remember that in some countries there are no toilet seats but that’s another story). It turns out that there is good reason for this. A story in the September 24, 2009 issue of The Washington Post reports that Americans are under attack from environmentalists for the plush nature of our toilet paper. Americans often are criticized for being soft in the head and now it appears we are destroying the environment by being soft on the butt as well.
In case you were wondering, toilet paper and the equally soft tissues make up 5% of the US Forest products industry, but environmentalists say that is too much. The difference between our luxury product and the old standard in Europe is recycling. In the US our soft paper comes from new wood cut from diminishing forests, in Europe they use recycled paper thus resulting in the somewhat less than soft product.
It appears that there is no part of the human body that does not cause environmental concerns, we are just polluting machines, but of course we all knew that. The problem is that there are now too many of us (and our butts). Of course, the obvious solution to our problem is to figure out a way to recycle people. Reincarnation may be one option, but then you have the chance of ending up as a tree frog in the Amazon.
The paper manufacturers have no problem using recycled paper; it’s us who demand soft serve. Blame it on those damn bears in the woods who are so concerned about their rear ends. Hey, I’m on board, I hardly noticed the difference in France; I was more annoyed that I could not get a cracker to go with my cheese.
Just in case you don’t buy into the need for plush toilet paper, I suggest you take the Quilted Northern “Plush Comfort Challenge.” According to their website you can try their product and if you are not delighted, they will give you your money back. Somehow I never thought of putting the word “delighted” in the same sentence as whipping my butt.
As long as I am not reduced to using yesterdays Wall Street Journal (I might make an exception for the New York Times), I’m ok with helping the environment. I have bigger pains in the butt to worry about.