Of course these two things are a contradiction in terms. Toilet paper is perhaps the ultimate in waste: a single-use item that gets flushed down the toilet. Talk about mindless usage. Recently I’ve been rather fixating on how to improve our consumption of toilet paper. Costco stopped selling Cascades recycled toilet paper and so I decided to stop buying vast quantities of TP from there. Instead I bought PC Green from the Emporium of Bread Swindling. This assuaged my conscience about using virgin wood pulp (hello, songbird habitat!) to wipe our bums.
In an ideal world, one would use not have to dispose of a manufactured product every time one relieved oneself. I have been informed by a reliable source that any suggestion of reusable wiping technology would immediately void my marriage vows. I’m rather attached to my marriage vows, so I’ll avoid that solution. We have to buy something for this purpose, and I thought PC Green might do the trick. But not quite.
The spouse is the designated toilet paper fairy in the house. We have one nice main bathroom and one horrible basement bathroom that is strictly used as a last resort. He is responsible for keeping the TP stocked in the bathrooms. Our stash lives in the basement pantry and he keeps an eye on supply in the loos and refills as necessary. When we redid our bathroom, he built in a little shelf for it so that if the roll ran out, you could actually reach it from a seated position, as it were. If the nook is full, we can have 4 rolls in the bathroom at the same time. It turns out that the change from acquiring 48 rolls at a time to 12 rolls at a time undermines the toilet paper fairy’s sense of security. All of a sudden I was fielding a lot of questions about whether I was planning to buy toilet paper that week. Are you mad, spouse? We still have five rolls.
The problem is that PC Green does not come in massive packages, so if I want to buy 48 rolls at a time (no problem with the cargo bike, or if I take some children as donkeys with me on a pedestrian shopping trip) I end up buying a lot of plastic packaging instead. Thinking about the plastic made me consider whether I could find a solution that involved no plastic at all.
Now, if everyone would just use moss or leaves in a composting toilet, then I could have everything, but we’re not there yet as a household. The teenager is already accusing me of conspiring to get rid of our running water. No chance. I’m very fond of the bathtub and the washing machine.
I believe I have found a solution that fulfils all the criteria:
1. No using songbird habitat for “personal care”.
2. No limping by on stingy little packages of twelve rolls each.
3. No reusable, washable cloths.
4. No plastic packaging.
Sadly the solution involves the retailing behemoth that purveys many goods online, but I can’t have everything and that’s not on my list of criteria. It’s rather alarming to blow almost $100 on TP at once, but it’s not going to go off, is it?
Lo! A box containing 80 rolls of toilet paper, wrapped in paper, delivered to my house. The toilet paper fairy can have the security of abundance and I can stop thinking about sourcing toilet paper every ten minutes. There is one slight drawback: the texture of this paper is slightly “Memories of the Public Library”. Sigh.