Although toilet paper is nowadays a staple item, this was not always the case. The history of this product goes back years, but the industry behind toilet paper dates back to more recent times and more involved in the mass production of a product that we discard in two steps.
The use of leaves, resins or other materials to clean the intimate parts of human beings after going to the bathroom, motivated an entire industry. The demand for this product is such in the western world that companies have created different presentations with different scents, textures and sizes to offer in the market.
A little-known industry in the fight to protect the environment
The production of this basic commodity in the basket of most of us has an unpleasant beginning. In order to obtain this precious toilet paper, millions of hectares of native forests are deforested every year. This is the case of the Amazonian and Canadian forests, which year after year face the mafias that indifferently cut down and burn the great forests. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow and therefore help to reduce the greenhouse effect. That is why logging leads to an increase of this gas in the atmosphere.
Toilet paper is a product of which little is said about when it comes to products that pollute and that carry out abusive practices against the environment. The paper industries have had a significant growth in recent years, it is estimated that only in countries like Spain this industry leaves 420,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
But the greatest damage of this industry is not located in the expulsion of gases, although the energy required for the process of virgin fiber factory is abundant. The first environmental problem that afflicts this industry is the extermination of raw materials in the forests.
The recycling of waste paper is obviously more economical, represents an energy saving between 30% and 40% of paper made from virgin pulp and produces less than a quarter of the environmental pollution.
Water, another linked resource
Although the toilet paper industry is linked to rampant extraction, there are other resources that are affected in the industrialization of the product. To make toilet paper, chemical substances are used which, when discarded, fall into the water sources near the factories. This represents another problem within the paper industry.
These substances come from pulp bleaching bleaches, which are particularly polluting, as they produce toxic dioxins, which can be discharged into rivers. It is also possible to find pollutants in scented papers, so we always recommend avoiding them.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of chemicals present makes up 9% of the water discharged. It is also estimated that the production of paper requires between two and thirteen liters of water for letter-size sheets. In conclusion, the chemicals used to achieve a smooth and resistant product, have a hidden side among the external components that after being used for the productive purpose, are discharged into the waters of rivers, seas or streams near the industries.
Hay otras alternativas
There are brands in the market that want to offer products that do not have a negative impact on the environment. Their proposals are creations from sustainable raw materials, although it is still a challenge in terms of costs. Changes in habits and social awareness have made industries think about sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives.
Another alternative is the use of reusable cloth, which fulfill a hygienic function and can be washed after one or more uses.
In some countries, the bidet may be an appropriate alternative to the use of toilet paper. Washing with water will save a lot of toilet paper.
If none of these options are available to you or you don't feel comfortable using them, the best thing to do is to buy white, odorless toilet paper.
New toilet papers made from recycled papers are a good buy. Not only are they unbleached and therefore dioxin-free (they use a de-inking process instead), but they will also help save trees and other resources, and reduce environmental pollution.
Join the fight!