Skip to main content

See also:

Expelling the Toilet Paper Myth

Tree Toilet Paper
Tree Toilet Paper

We all see several commercials every day advertising that so and so has better, thicker toilet paper. From those advertisements, we have developed the idea that having thicker sheets is a good thing. Some companies have even stated that they are helping save trees by making more plies per square. However, if you think carefully about this, their logic is severely flawed.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on this topic…us Environmentalists are trying our hardest to conserve the natural resources of the planet, right? Okay, that’s a given. Now, in order to accomplish this goal, many people recycle, grow their own foods and even try using less of everything. This is great! Well, it’s great except for the fact that our efforts (at least in the paper area of life) aren’t working.

We, as a society, have this idea that by purchasing toilet paper with thicker sheets we are using less and therefore saving the trees. Now this is the tricky part…the people who buy thicker toilet paper are actually using more that those who don’t. “Why’s this?” you may ask, and the answer is quite simple.

Think of one ply toilet paper. It’s pretty messy when you’re trying to wipe yourself, isn’t it? So, to remedy that problem, you fold more squares together to make it thicker, right? Believe or not but that’s actually more environmentally friendly that any other toilet paper. Sure it may seem like you’re using a ton of paper but you’re actually not using as much as most.

The problem with thicker toilet paper, such as two-ply, is that you’re using twice as much paper that one ply. It’s even worse if you’re folding the same number of squares every time you go potty. Think about this carefully:

One-ply toilet paper: 1 bathroom visit = about 9 sheets. Total sheets used in that one visit = 9

Two-ply toilet paper: 1 bathroom visit = about 9 sheets. Total sheets used in that one visit = 18

Do you see how this works? By using two-ply and above, you’re multiplying the amount of paper used per toilet visit. Let’s make this hit home even more…from it is known that people use an average of 57 sheets a day. That’s fine and dandy if you’re using one-ply but that number doubles to 114 sheets if using two-ply. Ouch! Not too environmentally friendly now, is it?

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should switch to one-ply and get your hands all messy. What this means is that it would be nice for those two-ply purchasers to use fewer sheets per visit. If each person uses about half (either 4 or 5) squares per trip, then it would equal out nicely. It’s not that difficult to do. Really, it isn’t.