Watching No Impact Man last week was most certainly an eye-opening experience in many ways, though I’m not entirely sure that I wholeheartedly agreed with some of the reporter’s methods of sustainability. In many ways, I found the No Impact Man’s methods to be reasonable adjustments to the average person’s lifestyle in order to help reduce our environmental impact. Some of these include: buying local produce and meats (even though I am vegetarian and do not consume meat), attempting to reduce our use of electricity, and even trying to re-use plastic containers as much as possible so they don’t end up in landfills. All of these adjustments just seem like rational practices in moderation.
While there were quite a few things I didn’t agree with in the film, the main point I didn’t agree with was the lack of toilet paper issue that made the “no Impact Man” so famous in the first place. Apparently “Americans use more than 50 pounds of toilet paper per year”, which in all reality is a fairly ridiculous amount of paper based waste we are annually outputting. In all reality, this wouldn’t be as big if an issue if there were more companies that either subscribed to the practice of using 100% recycled toilet paper or single ply toilet paper as opposed to regularly producing 3 ply toilet paper made from virgin tree pulp (aka freshly cut trees). Unfortunately, this is not the case and in this matter I agree with No Impact Man that it is far from an environmentally stable process. However, I personally don’t see many valid alternatives to toilet paper that are sanitary, so I am curious to hear about other alternatives. I know bidets are a completely viable alternative, but it is hard to believe that most restrooms would be equipped to use these. Using cloth is another alternative, though I personally worry about how sanitary cloth is, especially when one has to use a public restroom.
Can anyone think of other alternatives to toilet paper? I know plenty of nations don’t use it but I’m not aware of their specific practices.