We all say we care about the environment, yet to truly care about something takes some action, or inaction when more appropriate. The panicked purchases by so many in response the COVID-19 pandemic and advisories are understandably based in fear. Fear of the unknown.
The fear of this pandemic is being properly addressed by appropriate medical professionals and our governments. I would like to address the panicked buying of our natural resources, that is the paper products, with some facts.
With respect to toilet paper, we use a little less than one roll a week. That's a “normal” roll of toilet paper - not one of those double rolls you can buy.
So a twelve pack is going to last three months - for one person. A family of four will need about 16 rolls for a month. These quantities are most likely sufficient to do the job required should self-quarentine or self-isolation be necessary, since presently, all medical sources are indicating that would be for a 14-day period.
For example, I did not feel any need at all to purchase toilet paper. I checked my supply once after the hype started to find one unopened package of 24 double rolls of toilet paper, purchased in the beginning of February when I was expecting an International student, with six similar rolls remaining from the previous package. Based on the figures found on average sheet usage per person per day, and being the only occupant in the household, I calculated that yet to be opened package of toilet paper will last me 20.57 weeks, approximately five months!
There is absolutely no need for me to even consider purchasing toilet paper, as I am sure is the case in many households. Hopefully, this makes you feel a little better about NOT needed to stock pile toilet paper - and if you currently have 96 rolls of toilet paper in your pantry - please think about sharing. The Food Banks in Fort Frances typically do not provide toilet paper, so at this point of extremely high anxiety, now would be an excellent time to alleviate some of this fear and anxiety amongst the population who already have so much of it.
Here, sadly, is a greater fear than running out of toilet paper. Please keep this in mind before the wipe and flush:
“America has a "tree-to-toilet” problem.
That's according to a study out last Wednesday that says the largest U.S. makers of at-home tissue products—Procter & Gamble Co., Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Georgia-Pacific—use only virgin fiber in their major brands, and no recycled content, a vast sustainability gap compared to other brands that use all recycled fiber.
The U.S., which consumes more toilet paper per capita than other countries, is making climate change worse by using pulp from Canada's northern forests — one of the world's best absorbers of man-made greenhouse gases, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council and Stand.earth, environmental advocates."
Tiffany Kary, Bloomberg News
Help yourself and alleviate this fear with the fact panic purchasing is not necessary.
Help others and donate your overstocked purchases to those who truly would benefit from your binge.
Help save the environment, first in keeping more trees alive and recognizing these trees are vital to providing us with clean air.
That toilet paper square you don't tear,
Might remain a leaf,
To clean the air,
We need to breathe.