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Flushed Away – Beauty and your bum

July 22, 2013

Before I go on I want you to know that I am the first to admit to trying but failing to live a more earth friendly existence. I do some things but not everything as I will demonstrate below:

I give to charity so that my unwanted goods might be re-cycled and do some good in the world.

However

I mostly shop for new and sometimes buy more than we need in terms of clothing, shoes, entertainment or household goods.  And I don’t even particularly like shopping.

I swapped my car for a highly efficient one and reduced my weekly KM’s to 2/7ths of what they used to be

However

I do still drive the car to the local store rather than all or bike and often drop my youngest at school rather than let her catch the bus which would be more earth friendly.
I have been known to pee in the shower to save paper and if home alone don’t flush the loo each time I pee also to save water.

However

I also take long, hot showers every so often a I jut love to think in the rain.

On another note while it is most often that I design and manufacture natural cosmetics I am not fussy with my own skin and purchase products that interest me as this gives me more to write about.

OK so back to my original thought and down to business.

Flushed away……

toilet roll

What would you think of someone who regularly buys a product and by regularly I mean weekly, and then just screws it up and shoves it into the trash?  The product is highly processed requiring much energy and chemistry to create.  A product that doesn’t list ‘palm oil’ as one of its ingredients but that requires cleared land and mono-culture farming to produce it at its highest quality, land that once sustained more than just the odd bird and insect.

What would you say if you knew that this product often contains bleaching agents, perfumes, colours and dyes that are then popped straight into the waterway?

What would you say if the product, being rather bulky in size and shape was, although light, costly to transport due to its shape and the amount of air that has to surround each item?

What would you say to a world that is screaming ‘me, me, me!!!!’and abandoning their traditional, low impact product in order to get themselves some of this?

What would you say if I told you that this product did you no more good than plain old water, water that could be from a rainwater tank, stream or tap?

Just writing this I feel uneasy.  It has been playing on my mind for the last week now since travelling and this isn’t the first time that I’ve wrestled with this but as it is so close to home I think I’ve buried those feelings before rather than say ‘right, let’s do something’.  It all felt too hard…..

I’m talking about toilet paper of course, a product that we love to be extra thick, absorbent and soft.  Bright white is often loved because it psychologically signals ‘clean’ although many of us are now savvy to what the bright white means (more chemicals) and are more than happy with a recycled grey  but  even the recycled grey with its semi-halo is still no sustainable beauty award winner is it?

Anyway, here are some more thoughts and a link to a really interesting article about this whole thing.

An open invitation to innovate

Looking at this I see a massive untapped opportunity to change the way we think and live and make a real difference.  Portable squirting devices, bidet toilets and hoses are all possible and have been proven to clean better than paper which in some cases just rubs it all around.

It simply isn’t true that the paper cleans better and if used incorrectly with a back to front rather than front to back motion especially in girls, bladder infections can result.   It also doesn’t protect your hands any more than using water would as many a hand hygiene screen has shown.   A long as the wiper is educated in good hygiene and washes and thoroughly dries their hands afterwards the outcomes could be amazing!

So will I go paper free?

Like most of you reading I suspect I don’t have a squirt toilet set up at home.  I have the western flush, toilet roll and no bidet either.  So, in most cases I will be sticking with my paper and feeling pretty guilty about it too.   However, as I said in the beginning I will continue with my small steps, be conscious about how much paper I use, buy recycled only (as even if it has a similar overall carbon footprint the ethics are more aligned to what I want),  reduce the burden on paper whenever possible when at home by using water sometimes – shower time is a good one and some simple planning can help with this.   But most of all I am going to look into the portable squirting device as a solution.  It doesn’t sit with my business model to invest in and commercialize such a tool but I am sure that it would fit for some of my customers.  I will research that, try one out and do all I can to forward this technology.   Also I will continue writing in order to do my bit to motivate thought and prepare the market for a change in perspective on bottom hygiene.  It may not be much but I’m sur Ethan every little step helps.   Also should this all work out I will of course buy my own squirter and use it with pride knowing that it is saving more trees than my all natural moisturizer ever will…….

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