Famous YouTubers like Mark Rober and Mr. Beast are on a mission to help the Earth by planting 20 million trees. But if you’re not a famous YouTuber and you can’t feasibly plant 20 million trees on your own, you can still greatly help the planet by investing in a bidet.
It’s true. The United States is currently the largest consumer of toilet paper in the world. Is it any shock that we are also the most clueless country when it comes to bidets? If Americans invested in bidets and agreed to change their bathroom behaviour, it would be such a simple way to make a profound difference for our planet.
Here’s why: bidets use water to clean you after you use the restroom. That means you don’t need to use toilet paper to wipe. Depending on the type of bidet you buy, the bidet may also have a warm air dryer. That means you wouldn’t need toilet paper to pat yourself dry after your wash either.
Putting all of this together leads to the conclusion that if you switch to using a bidet, you could either greatly reduce your reliance on toilet paper, or eliminate the need for it altogether. Reducing your consumption of toilet paper means saving trees.
How many trees could Americans save by reducing or eliminating our use of toilet paper?
Millions. According to Georgia Pacific, one of the top manufacturers of toilet paper, an average American household of two people uses about 400 rolls of toilet paper per year.* Using rough math, that means the average American household needs two 40-foot tall pine trees to be cut down and turned into their toilet paper.*
The reason we call it rough math is because it’s hard to calculate the exact tree-to-toilet-paper conversion rate because not every tree is exactly 40 feet tall, not every tree weighs the same, not every tree has the same trunk diameter, and when you dry out a tree to make pulp for toilet paper, different trees lose different amounts of moisture – which therefore affects production capability. Suffice it to say, two 40-foot tall pine trees is roughly equal to the 400 rolls of TP used by an average American household per year.
Once you chop down those (roughly) two trees, exactly what goes into making those 400 rolls of toilet paper? Let’s simplify by discussing what goes into making one roll of toilet paper:
- 1.5 pounds of wood
- 37 gallons of water
- 1.3 Kwh of electricity.*
If we multiply by 400 – that takes us to 600 pounds of wood, 14,800 gallons of water, and 520 Kwh of electricity. Per year! For one American household of two people! Plus, consider all the chemicals used to bleach the toilet paper and make it white. Not to mention the chemicals needed to make the toilet paper soft and cushy.
Now let’s multiply those numbers by the roughly 120 million American “households.” The numbers are staggering. And keep in mind, we’re wasting all these trees, all this water, all this electricity – to make a single-use product. And unlike other single-use products, toilet paper gets flushed away down the toilet. Literally. When you stop and think, it can make you sad that we are being so wasteful when trees are so important to our planet.
In case you need a quick refresh, harken back to elementary school science. That’s when we all learned what trees do for our planet: they serve as important absorbers of carbon dioxide gas. Carbon dioxide is the main heat-trapping gas that leads to global warming. So when we cut down millions of trees, we’re eliminating plants that are here to help naturally clean our earth. Now, obviously we need to cut down trees for many essential products, but cutting them down for toilet paper when there is such a clear and easy alternative in bidets? Why contribute to global warming for toilet paper!? It just doesn’t make sense.
How bidets Help the Environment
Maybe people are baffled by how to use a bidet. If that’s the case, they should know that bidets are quite simple to operate. Modern bidets, such as the Bio Bidet BB 2000 Bliss, are essentially fancy toilet seats. Granted, if you want, you can hunt down an old-fashioned bidet – you know, the ones from a hundred years ago that are separate bowls that go next to your toilet. But since most people don’t have bathrooms large enough to accommodate two side-by-side bowls and since most people prefer modern technology to outdated equipment from 100+ years ago, we assume you’d rather purchase a modern bidet seat.
Modern bidet seats are used in place of your current toilet seat. You can install them yourself in about 20 minutes: you just pop off your old seat and screw in your bidet seat. You hook the bidet into your normal bathroom water line using the provided T-connector, plug it in, and you’re ready to go. Then you just sit down, do your business, and when you’re done, instead of using toilet paper, your bidet cleans you. It’s as simple as that. You’re sanitized and trees have been saved.
It is also possible people don’t know how much more luxurious it is to use a bidet than it is to wipe with toilet paper. Just as smart phones revolutionized the concept of phones, modern bidets, like the TOTO S550e, have revolutionized toilets. Modern bidet seats offer you options like heated toilet seats, automatically opening and closing lids, nightlights, remote controls, precise control over water temperature, precise control over water pressure, air deodorizers, warm air dryers and more. Try finding toilet paper that does any of that!
A third possibility is that people just don’t know about bidets. If that’s the case, then share this article. Google Green Peace and toilet paper. See for yourself just how many trees are being killed to make toilet paper and how upset environmentalists are about it – and have been for decades! Share these facts with your friends and family.
Even though it can be squirmy to discuss bathroom behavior with people, consider breaking taboos and opening a dialogue about it because of how much it could help our planet. If given the choice, wouldn’t most people face a somewhat embarrassing conversation about potty talk than face mass extinction because our planet has too much carbon dioxide?
If all else fails and saving the environment isn’t enough to convince people to make the switch, then try sharing with them how much more hygienic it is to use bidets than it is to wipe with toilet paper. A line like this usually stops people in their tracks:
“You would never use a bidet? Oh, so you like putting your hand perilously close to your waste? Interesting. Did you know waste accidentally getting on your hands is the number one health problem associated with bathroom use? Odd you like exposing yourself to that risk.”
Most people don’t know how to reply to a statement like this. That’s because there truly is no logic to preferring to wipe your sensitive areas with toilet paper instead of washing with a bidet. Bidets keep your hands far, far away from your waste. And the nozzles that spray you clean on bidets often self-sterilize after each use – so if you’re worried about your bidet nozzles being clean, fear not and make sure your bidet has that feature! Not to mention, your bum will be cleaner than using toilet paper! Bidets are like showers for your butt, and after you have a messy bowel movement, wouldn’t you prefer to wash it clean rather than wipe around the hot mess with dry paper?
So spread the word today: bidets! If you’re looking for an easy way to make an environmental impact today, bidets are the answer.
About the Author: Jensen Lee
Jensen Lee is the Founder and Managing Member of bidetsPLUS, an online retail store specializing in bidet toilet seats. Prior to bidetsPLUS, Jensen held management positions in technology-related fields, in both the U.S. and Europe. He has held the position of Product Manager of Global Network Services for British Telecom. Most recently, he held the position of Executive Director of Product Marketing at AT&T Interactive, AT&T’s internet advertising division.
Awesome post! Loved the way you described about the impacts on the environment. I am a regular reader of your blog but this one helped me in my practical life.