Toilet Paper is a Load of Crap

Words by Angus Chambers

I’m back with another taboo-busting semi-incomprehensible pep talk. It’s time we cut the crap: toilet roll is ineffective, expensive and terrible for the environment.  

In preparation for this article, I was brainstorming ideas with my flatmate. To our credit, we had a fairly interesting and earnest discussion about some genuine environmental issues: the need for sustainable housing, conspiracy theorists hijacking environmental advocacy, the dire lack of good public transport in the UK and the US… We concurred that while these are all serious challenges, they’re also just a little bit boring. Everyone knows landlords are bastards, Piers Corbyn is mental, and Elon Musk’s plans to ‘fix traffic’ are idiotic. I wanted something unique, engaging and funky!  

After a while, and with just a hint of frustration, he encouraged me to ‘write about something that’s pissed you off recently.’ Amongst various other things, I remembered paying £5.50 for 6 rolls of toilet paper earlier that day, and so here we are.  

To me, and I’m sure to many of you, toilet roll has always just been an ‘essential’, a mundane fact of daily life. Nobody talks about it, because it’s really not that interesting. We buy it, we use it, we flush it away. That’s it! 

However, recently I’ve spent some time thinking deeply about toilet paper. My verdict is that bar none, it is the single most ridiculous product on the planet. Here’s why: 

Firstly and most importantly, if we’re being honest, toilet paper is actually not very good. Without wanting to get too technical, it just doesn’t really do the job it needs to that effectively! And why would it? I genuinely can’t think of another occasion on which we’d solely use a piece of bone-dry tissue paper to clean something up. If a bird pooped on my arm, I’m definitely using water to clean it off.  

Secondly and as previously mentioned, it’s very expensive. According to my meticulous bog roll research, your average 12 pack will set you back at least a tenner. £10. To wipe my arse. And it’s not exactly something you want to go cheap on. Or maybe you do, I’m quite sensitive.  

The third reason is one that I hope is not unique to me, though I fear it may be. Toilet roll is definitely the most embarrassing thing to be seen buying, and then carrying home. Lugging a bumper pack of bog roll through town will never not be an unpleasant experience, especially when the local school kids spot you…  

Finally, and more seriously, it’s really bad for the environment. A single roll takes roughly 37 gallons of water to produce. An estimated 27,000 trees are cut down per day to produce toilet paper. Chemicals used in the paper themselves do not degrade easily and release elemental chlorine, causing air and water pollution. Also, some of the biggest companies are starting to use less recycled paper in production and major supermarkets are offering less sustainable products.  

In summary, toilet paper is bad. This is also something that most of the world have worked out, with only 30% of the global population actually using it. It’s an unnecessary Western luxury that we genuinely can live without. Try and persuade your landlord to install a bidet. They’re cheaper and way more effective. If they need convincing, show them this!  

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