Why Waste Is On A Roll

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Ready to “go green” but don’t know where to start? Though it might sound unsavory, you may want to begin with your sanitation habits – in other words, start perusing what you’re refusing.

Roughly 27,000 trees are flushed every year, based on math from the recent article Flushing Forests, published by World Watch magazine. While Kimberly-Clark, the giant behind Scott tissue, argues that according to their studies there is no environmental difference between new and recycled products, the University of Colorado’s Environmental Center disagrees. The Center reports that for each ton of recycled paper, 17 trees cry salvation, along with 3,700 pounds of lumber.

Is there a way to save even before we recycle? To use or not to use, that is the question.

Whereas Americans are on the “dry” system and use dry sanitation paper in the bathroom, some Japanese are on the “wet” system and use water. Flushing Forests states that to create a roll of toilet tissue, about 37 gallons of water are required. Assuming the average American uses 57 sheets of toilet paper per day (which also seems to assume the average American is afflicted with Irritable Bowel Syndrome) this adds up to about 3.7 gallons of water used per day just to manufacture the roll. The Japanese system uses almost a 1/100 of that amount at just 0.03 gallons.

The biggest part of this dilemma is that it isn’t going away. In fact, it seems to be getting worse as we work to improve sanitation across the globe. According to RISI, a marketing analysis firm, China and Western Europe’s toilet tissue use grew 5 percent in 2008.

Though you may not be ready to switch to the wet personal-cleansing system, consumers can combat the market for “virgin” products by reaching for recycled ones like those created by Marcal, a producer with over 50 years of recycling experience. And while in this situation it’s probably not advisable to try the 2nd of the traditional “Three R’s," reduction and recycling are still valuable contributions to a greener Earth.

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