Environmental Justice & Sustainability

Environmental Toll of the Roll

Environmental justice to me is a broad term that labels any action humans can take to show respect for their fellow humans, fellow animals, and the environment. Because animals are dependent on the environment to survive, it is important that humans take precaution in how the environment is treated. I believe that environmental justice covers laws and actions taken to further protect nature from any permanent damage by humans that can in turn have a harsh effect on humans or animals – whether it’s by causing lack of food, ruining safe habitats where animals live, or poisoning food/soil with unsafe chemicals.

I live in a household with four people. Between the four of us, a lot of amenities are used up – plastic utensils, printing paper, plastic water bottles, Ziploc bags, etc. However, lately, the one thing that has stuck out to me is our use of toilet paper. After doing some research, I have learned that many environmental activists believe that the incredibly large use of toilet paper in the United States could have a more damaging effect than that of gas-powered cars and large homes that use up too much energy power according to the article “The Environmental Impact of Toilet Roll” provided by a-z-animals.com. The article points out that in the United States alone, there is an average of seven billion rolls of toilet paper being used each year and the “average tree can produce around 1,000 rolls.”

After continuing my research, I have decided to set a goal for my household. This goal is to lower our toilet paper roll usage from one to two rolls per day to only one roll per day. I have set this goal after confirming that the use of toilet paper does indeed have an undesired effect on the environment. The reason why is simple, it is the same reason why humans should recycle paper and use in moderation, because it has an overwhelming impact on our trees. It is easy to forget that toilet paper is made of paper because it is not something we think about, it is a necessity to humans living in industrialized/modernized countries. According to earthisland.org, the figure provided earlier by a-z-animals.com is “about three times more than most European citizens, and almost 100 times more than a typical Chinese citizen.” Europe and China are both industrialized/modernized nations that are able to cut down their toilet paper usage, so why is it that Americans cannot?

If I, along with others, can decrease the use of toilet paper within my household, it will allow for more trees to grow and aid the environment for longer periods of time. Not only should we decrease our use of toilet paper, but also look for recycled toilet paper (just like we can use recycled paper in our printers). This is a goal that I intend to maintain even after the semester is over because it is incredibly easy to maintain as long as we are dedicated, aware, and educated on the benefit that such a simple action can create.

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2 thoughts on “Environmental Toll of the Roll

  1. Jeanette, this is fascinating! I never thought about toilet paper usage before, and I really like your idea of thinking about it per-household. I’ll have to give this some thought and do more research about what type of toilet paper we’re using in my apartment and adjust accordingly! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. I like how you first gave your own interpretation of the term “environmental justice” but this post became more interesting when you made it more personal. I wanted to know if you and your family were making any progress with the using of less toilet paper and if this was an easy thing to accomplish. I also wanted to know why it is that Americans cannot easily refrain themselves from wasting resources.

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