People are fighting over it in grocery stores all around North America. Some are selling it to make an immense profit. No, this isn’t the scene of some crazy shopping sale. Instead, it’s
people buying toilet paper. Seriously?
Due to this mass consumption, what if we ran out of toilet paper? How would this destroy our plumbing system? How could this help our planet? And what could we use instead?
It’s pretty easy to overlook how much you might use toilet paper. But people sure use a lot of it.
15 million trees are cut down.each year to make it. Not only that, but it’s also a $30 billion industry. So it’s no secret that this stuff is everywhere. So what would happen if we suddenly got rid of it?
The most difficult part of this scenario would probably be how certain people adapt to not having toilet paper. Approximately 4 billion people on Earth won’t even notice. That’s because nearly half of the world doesn’t use toilet paper at all.
After they’re done doing their business, they might clean themselves in a number of ways: by using bidets, washcloths, or water and a bucket. So we can rest easy, knowing that a massive part of humanity will be able to carry on with how they do number two.
The real problem would come from how people in North America adapt. They’ve had toilet paper since the 1800s. And bidets or other methods of wiping themselves are largely foreign to them.
It’s unlikely that they would have access to, or adapt to these new methods overnight. So naturally, they’re probably going to use whatever form of paper they might have.
Paper towels and tissue paper would probably be the first option. But once that runs out, they’d probably start using magazines, books, newspapers, and whatever other forms of paper they might have.
And if they run out of all that, they might gravitate towards dishcloths and clothing items.
Obviously, these aren’t meant for wiping your butt. So if you wipe yourself with them, there is a chance that you could cut yourself. Y’know how much a paper cut stings? Yeah, now imagine that on your butt. Not very nice.
Not only will it be unpleasant to sit down, but these cuts could also lead to infections. A single gram of feces can contain 10 million viruses, 1 million bacteria, and a whole other mess of things you don’t want lurking on your skin.
And if fecal matter happens to get into a cut on your butt, it could lead to some severe infections. So if these were the only methods you used to clean yourself, things could get pretty ugly.
But your body wouldn’t be the only thing you’d have to worry about. Flushing all these foreign objects down a toilet would be terrible for the sewage system. The reason we use toilet paper is that it dissolves quickly. Things like paper towels and pages from your magazines will hold their shape and will take much longer to dissolve.
They’ll cause clogged pipes and overflowing sewage systems. Not only that, but these things called fatbergs will also start to pop up. They’re a congealed mass that’s formed from non-biodegradable solids.
If we stop using toilet paper and don’t adapt quickly, you could expect lots of fatbergs to start taking over our sewers. But if we did manage to adapt, not having toilet paper could be a great thing.
Hundreds of millions of trees are cut down to make toilet paper every year. No toilet paper production would mean our forests would flourish more than ever before.
And not having toilet paper really shouldn’t be the end of the world. Even having a toilet is something we should be grateful for.
Over 2 billion people don’t even have access to proper toilets. So while we’re overly concerned about how we’re wiping our butts, we should remember that some people don’t have toilets at
all. This, combined with being unable to clean themselves, leads to disease and death.
So instead of panic buying all this toilet paper, know that there are other alternatives, and to try your best to keep things in perspective. Not having toilet paper definitely wouldn’t be the end of the world. But y’ know what might be? Flushing every toilet at the same time.
- “Fatberg”. 2020. en.wikipedia.org.
- “Toilet Paper Fun Facts”. 2020. toiletpaperhistory.net.
- “Disrupting The $31B Toilet Paper Industry | PYMNTS.Com”. 2019. PYMNTS.Com.
- “Bidets Can Save 15 Million Trees Annually—So Why Aren’t We Using Them?”. Susmita Baral. 2020. Lifehacker.
- “U.S. population: How many rolls of toilet paper have you used in the last 30 days?”. 2020. Statista.