Environmentalists aim for your …

posted at 5:55 pm on September 24, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Toilet paper consumes 5% of the trees harvested, a much lower percentage than shipping materials made from unrecycled paper, but it’s apparently seized most of the attention from environmentalists.  The Washington Post reports on a campaign to get toilet paper manufacturers to stop making the product as soft and to use recycled paper, which thus far has meant economic death for the producers.  One has to wonder whether this is really the time or the, er, place for activism:

It is a fight over toilet paper: the kind that is blanket-fluffy and getting fluffier so fast that manufacturers are running out of synonyms for “soft” (Quilted Northern Ultra Plush is the first big brand to go three-ply and three-adjective).

It’s a menace, environmental groups say — and a dark-comedy example of American excess.

The reason, they say, is that plush U.S. toilet paper is usually made by chopping down and grinding up trees that were decades or even a century old. They want Americans, like Europeans, to wipe with tissue made from recycled paper goods. …

Toilet paper is far from being the biggest threat to the world’s forests: together with facial tissue, it accounts for 5 percent of the U.S. forest-products industry, according to industry figures. Paper and cardboard packaging makes up 26 percent of the industry, although more than half is made from recycled products. Newspapers account for 3 percent.

But environmentalists say 5 percent is still too much.

This makes no sense at all.  Why spend all of that effort going after toilet paper when the bottom line, so to speak, is that the packaging industry uses almost three times as much unrecycled product?  I would agree that we should get the pulp from sustainable resources, at which the industry has agreed to do better, but the net effect will still be to eat at the margins of a much larger problem — especially in the age  of Internet commerce, where more transactions get fulfilled in cardboard packaging.

Besides, the environmentalists are attacking the wrong, er, end of the problem.  They need to convince the consumers, not the producers, that rougher is better.  Toilet paper made from recycled materials is not as pleasing as the normal product, which means that given a choice, people will avoid the former for the latter.  The Post’s David Fahrenholtd reports that the environmentalists set up a test for him to prove that there was little difference between the two, which failed.

People understand the difference, and they want comfort and convenience.  Many of us have had plenty of experience with recycled-based product, in government or corporate facilities.  Those aren’t exactly encouraging experiences, which is why demand remains high for the plush product.  Until producers can emulate that with recycled material — or start mandating the elimination of consumer choice, which is the direction they’re going — Americans will not choose to be Europeans in the, er, end.

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I know that in my case, every time I see another of OBama’s commie creeps make some new declaration about how evil and selfish and racist we all are, I go buy another couple hundred rounds. But they are doing that some often now that it is really getting expensive.

MikeA on September 24, 2009 at 7:58 PM

Apparently you are not alone. Ammo sales are through the roof.

highhopes on September 24, 2009 at 8:11 PM

Objection! You’ve introduced unproven facts. What makes you think the tree-huggers going out after TP even wear underwear or know what a bar of soap looks like?

highhopes on September 24, 2009 at 8:08 PM

Excellent point! I stand corrected!

Jeff from WI on September 24, 2009 at 8:11 PM

Ah, the Battle of Uranus begins. I’m sticking (or not) with the soft side. I’m way to old, cranky, and sensitive to move over to the Dark Side. Rest stops are bad enough!

karl9000 on September 24, 2009 at 8:23 PM

Sorry if this has been said but . . .
“You can have my TP when you pry it out of my cold dead hand!”

rebuzz on September 24, 2009 at 8:28 PM

Since the country is 30% democrats I say let them lead the way in eliminating this ecological terror and wipe with their left hand! No paper, just their left hand! That will more than off set the 5% usage of trees for TP.

chickasaw42 on September 24, 2009 at 8:30 PM

Ah, the Battle of Uranus begins. I’m sticking (or not) with the soft side. I’m way to old, cranky, and sensitive to move over to the Dark Side. Rest stops are bad enough!

karl9000 on September 24, 2009 at 8:23 PM

“Captain,we’re circling Uranus, looking for Klingons”

Jeff from WI on September 24, 2009 at 8:33 PM

Jeff from WI on September 24, 2009 at 8:02 PM

On a similar note, how much more water will people have to use to wash their hands after trying to “clean” themselves with one little square of cheap paper? And how much more illness wil result from the inevitible increase in hand contact with, uhh, contaminated material?

MikeA on September 24, 2009 at 8:36 PM

And how much more illness wil result from the inevitible increase in hand contact with, uhh, contaminated material?

MikeA on September 24, 2009 at 8:36 PM

WASHINGTON – Today the Department of Health and Human Services announced its new mandatory Cholera Initiative…

/never let a self-generated crisis go to waste

Mary in LA on September 24, 2009 at 8:42 PM

Wasn’t it rumored the WH was going to recommend we only flush after going #2? Oh, yuck. Bathrooms are already full of toxic germs, no matter how many times you spray down with bleach or Lysol. Wonder if that’s his policy with his precious children in the WH?

24K lady on September 24, 2009 at 8:43 PM

I wish we had more bidets, although these use additional water.

I just hope it won’t come to the Little House on the Prairie days, then ‘my ass is grass’ !

greenLibertarian on September 24, 2009 at 8:45 PM

Why spend all of that effort going after toilet paper when the bottom line, so to speak, is that the packaging industry uses almost three times as much unrecycled product?

Because people are supposed to suffer! To prove their religious devotion to the cause. Hairshirts, and all that.

We created civilization, and toilet paper, and now we should be made to suffer for it.

No toliet paper for you!

Alana on September 24, 2009 at 8:47 PM

If the rabid environmentalist wants to wipe their asses with 400 grit sand paper, good, my ass likes soft, sorry, it is what it is.

I like the environmental movement, it is not unlike a bowel movement. I’m an Automotive Technician, we charge by bumper sticker, 8%per. One thing I’ve noticed, the more “Green” stickers a car has, the more oil it leaks, the more blue smoke out of the tail pipe. The “True Believers” drive old Volvo’s, old VW’s. They leak, they smoke, and the owners chastise me and my Tundra which does neither. When you tell them about a leak, they always claim lack of finances, when they fail the emissions test, they always ask for the waiver.

I MUST go green, because these tools say so? A simple 7.62 NATO round can cure the problem, the argument, lead is harmful to the Earth. Answer, where the F@%k do you think lead comes from?

M-14 2go on September 24, 2009 at 8:49 PM

When it’s yellow-let it mellow,
If its brown you can flush it down,
Then place your tush upon the ground,
And drag around till no longer brown.

chickasaw42 on September 24, 2009 at 8:50 PM

“From my cold,dead hands!”

Or the classical version if you please.

“Molon Labe!”

jnelchef on September 24, 2009 at 8:51 PM

Jeff from WI on September 24, 2009 at 8:02 PM

On a similar note, how much more water will people have to use to wash their hands after trying to “clean” themselves with one little square of cheap paper? And how much more illness wil result from the inevitible increase in hand contact with, uhh, contaminated material?

MikeA on September 24, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Another EXCELLENT point. Those idiot libs never think things through.

Jeff from WI on September 24, 2009 at 8:56 PM

OKAY….Let’s take this to it’s logical conclusion…

To be really….really…Green here’s what you should do (how long before Sebelius shows us how to do this?).

Get a raft made of logs/biodegradeable material. Take a paddle and row offshore (near a proposed reef hopefully). Then once you’re offshore you anchor the log raft. After the anchor is secure you slit your wrists (to draw sharks or other predatory fish) and throw yourself in the water and make yourself food for the pure wild animals. This will end your evil carbon emissions, provide habitat and food for the wild animal population and save Obamacare dollars that the Fed Gov might have to pay.

There you go….The Ultimate Green sacrifice. Al Gore you go first.

PappyD61 on September 24, 2009 at 8:56 PM

OK, so let me get this straight?

Unemployment hovers just under 10%, we just ‘dumped’ on (more of) our allies in favor of canoodling with fascist dictators, our national debt will take generations to pay off, our soldiers are being systematically abandoned on the front lines and someone somewhere in the US tonight wants health insurance but cannot get it and the Lefties want to discuss the plushiness of toilet paper?

There is no rational debate possible with that level of stupid. Why are we even bothering? Can we just start fighting now and get it over with?

gopmom on September 24, 2009 at 9:01 PM

PappyD61 on September 24, 2009 at 8:56 PM

I like your ideas. I think the Greenies might go for it. Now, how can we get a PSA out on the airwaves to start it?

gopmom on September 24, 2009 at 9:03 PM

I had an uncle who literally shredded old newspapers to use as toilet paper. I didn’t realize it until I walked around to the west side of his farm house and saw all this shredded paper blown everywhere. I stepped no further since I knew he had never re-built his outhouse after a tornado in the 70s. He never had indoor plumbing until the mid 80s when he moved to an apartment in town. He died with over a million dollars in the bank. He could have afforded the Northern triple ply.

bopbottle on September 24, 2009 at 9:11 PM

Best thread evah.

<<>>

hillbillyjim on September 24, 2009 at 9:14 PM

That makes one more thing to stock up on. There’s a place cleared on the shelf, right next to the non-GE regular light bulbs.

indypat on September 24, 2009 at 9:15 PM

T H E E N D.

hillbillyjim on September 24, 2009 at 9:16 PM

This is getting ridiculous.

Let’s make something perfectly clear. Toilet paper is not made form decades or centuries old trees. That’s simply as untrue as it can get. Toilet paper is made from pulpwood pine trees, usually farmed and less than 10 years old. The wood is still mainly long and soft (young) fibers which makes excellent paper for writing, printing and yes, wiping the bum.

To use decade plus trees is simply economically stupid. No matter where you are, even with the el cheapo south american brands, young farmed pulpwood pine or trash from lumber operations is what goes into toilet paper.

Everything about this initiative by the “greens” is silly and more about classism than the environment.

Jason Coleman on September 24, 2009 at 9:16 PM

Why can’t you buy TP in any other color than white anymore, anyway?

Rhinoboy on September 24, 2009 at 6:08 PM

Wow! I had forgotten they used to make that. It’s a weird feeling to remember something you’d forgotten so much it is like grand new.

I want it again! Colors to match my bathrooms.

As for the trees thing, leftist types think everything is always finite, and always running out. There will never be any more of anything, and there will never be any new inventions (which there won’t, if they have anything to do with it), etc.

Since everything is always finite and running out, they are always focused who should get whatever it is and who should go without, “for the good of society.”

And the answers to that last would be: (1) them, and (2) everyone else.

Alana on September 24, 2009 at 9:27 PM

*brand new

Alana on September 24, 2009 at 9:29 PM

Pardon my french, but this is how f*cked up the left is. This is all they do.

Try telling women they have to use recycled tampons or tampons that aren’t so soft.

See how that goes.

madmonkphotog on September 24, 2009 at 9:39 PM

I had an uncle who literally shredded old newspapers to use as toilet paper. I didn’t realize it until I walked around to the west side of his farm house and saw all this shredded paper blown everywhere. I stepped no further since I knew he had never re-built his outhouse after a tornado in the 70s. He never had indoor plumbing until the mid 80s when he moved to an apartment in town. He died with over a million dollars in the bank. He could have afforded the Northern triple ply.

bopbottle on September 24, 2009 at 9:11 PM

BE proud of him…he went out like a man No damned triple ply to spoil him!

Jeff from WI on September 24, 2009 at 9:53 PM

Funny that Ed mentions Quilted Northern- that’s my preferred brand. However, should it become unavailable… well, I’m quickly reaching the point where I’ll cheerfully rip up Lib’s and use then to wipe my ass.

Doorgunner on September 24, 2009 at 9:59 PM

Jeff from WI on September 24, 2009 at 8:02 PM

On a similar note, how much more water will people have to use to wash their hands after trying to “clean” themselves with one little square of cheap paper? And how much more illness wil result from the inevitible increase in hand contact with, uhh, contaminated material?

MikeA on September 24, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Another EXCELLENT point. Those idiot libs never think things through.

Jeff from WI on September 24, 2009 at 8:56 PM

Sure they have; see, those illnesses won’t be covered by Obamacare since they were the result of “carelessness.” Some of the ill will die, which saves Obamacare millions of dollars. Mission accomplished.

Mmm mmm mmm
Barack Hussein Obama …

SagebrushPuppet on September 24, 2009 at 10:06 PM

You learn about TP in my line of work. I’m a “Test Pilot” at the Kohler Toilet Company.

Jeff from WI on September 24, 2009 at 8:10 PM

Okay, Jeff, what, exactly does that mean? How many bananas can you possibly eat in one day? I live in WI too, and I know people here are about one bubble off plumb, but this strikes me as one of the silliest jobs ever. Well, except maybe any of the czar jobs with the Obama lack-of-administration. Except that.

tcn on September 24, 2009 at 10:12 PM

We need a toilet paper Czar.

Daggett on September 24, 2009 at 11:05 PM

I’ll give up toilet paper if I can legally start crapping in the faces of tied down environmentalist whackos.

Spiritk9 on September 25, 2009 at 12:24 AM

Does no one see the outcome of this?

Rough toilet paper means more visits to the ER for bad paper cuts which raises our health care cost.

Rbastid on September 25, 2009 at 12:59 AM

There are MORE trees in the US due to the paper industry, not less. This is all a farce, as is everything environmentalists do.

BVM on September 25, 2009 at 3:23 AM

Recycling paper costs more money and causes more environmental damage than harvesting trees and making new paper.

If you follow these enviro-idiots’ logic to it’s inevitable conclusion, cows and chickens should be on the endangered species list if not completely extinct by now.

Wingo on September 25, 2009 at 3:39 AM

You’re messing with my a$$……now it’s PERSONAL!

Get out of my loo you friggin’ tree huggers.

Let’s see if you can recycle this KICK IN THE A$$.

omnipotent on September 25, 2009 at 4:41 AM

Sitting in a room of vapor
The Environuts stole the toilet paper
Boss is waiting cannot linger
Look out a$$ here comes the finger

SubVet735 on September 25, 2009 at 7:29 AM

Besides, the environmentalists are attacking the wrong, er, end of the problem. They need to convince the consumers, not the producers, that rougher is better. Toilet paper made from recycled materials is not as pleasing as the normal product, which means that given a choice, people will avoid the former for the latter.

If rough, recycled toilet paper is not as effective as first-time toilet paper in…er…waste removal from a person’s nether region, said waste will soil undergarments. This will lead to increased use of laundry detergents, and additional phosphates emitted to lakes and wetlands, causing increased algae blooms…

Steve Z on September 25, 2009 at 10:15 AM

If it’s been alluded to already, I apologize…but, do these idjets want us to go back to corn cobs and the Roebuck catalog?

What a bunch of maroons.

SubVet735 on September 25, 2009 at 7:29 AM

Ew.

Oh Mercy on September 25, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Environmentalist whackos really chaff my a**.

T.D.D. on September 25, 2009 at 10:24 AM

The reason, they say, is that plush U.S. toilet paper is usually made by chopping down and grinding up trees that were decades or even a century old.

So what? Plant another friggin’ tree! But this isn’t about trees at all, is it?

RadClown on September 25, 2009 at 10:42 AM

I would like to comment but there is an environmentalist head up my @ss.

PatriotPete on September 25, 2009 at 10:52 AM

They want Americans, like Europeans, to wipe with tissue made from recycled paper goods.

Don’t know where they got this. I live in Europe and i’ve never even seen recycled toilet paper.

madne0 on September 25, 2009 at 11:17 AM

This is such a sham that its amazing we continually have to knock this BS down.

The truth is for every tree harvested multiple others are planted, the tree population in this country now is higher than in the twenties.

In fact due to the falling number of newspapers and paper use in general the point can be made that greater tissue use means the continuation of tree planting programs.

No differently than any other progressive cause du jour its not about saving anything, save for the liberal drive to control..others.

Speakup on September 25, 2009 at 11:39 AM

We have a treehugger in our building who doesn’t flush the urinal. When I go in after him I make sure to flush it 5 times before I do my business and at least 3 times afterwards.

crazy_legs on September 25, 2009 at 11:51 AM

The trees grown for any purpose are actually helping the environment. If there was no use for farmed trees then the land would be used for other purposes, such as put up a parking lot. Furthermore, the harvested trees are replace with new trees to take their place so that the toilet paper business can continue. There is no net loss of trees. I would think it would be fun to take this to an extreme by challenging Sheryl Crow to zero sheet bathroom visits and caller her a one sheet environmental destroyer.

scrubjay on September 25, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Hey, it’s just one more way to emulate their utopian dream country:

http://www.miamiherald.com/579/story/1203953.html

Why not?

anuts on September 25, 2009 at 12:26 PM

We should be using “bumguns” like they do in Southeast Asia…

max1 on September 25, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Why spend all of that effort going after toilet paper when the bottom line, so to speak, is that the packaging industry uses almost three times as much unrecycled product?

Because they can.

It’s about telling others how to run their lives. Period. “Look what we can make you do, and prove ourselves righteous, all in one act.”

First we can’t use oil because it’s (supposedly) not a renewable resource. Then we can’t use a renewable resource like trees because… why?

Akzed on September 25, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Headed to Costco today. Thanks for the heads up. I am going to load up on three ply TeePee. Enough to last for 2 years.

FireBlogger on September 25, 2009 at 12:52 PM

Now the government wants back in our bathrooms? Weren’t the pathetic low-flows enough? These libs ideas aren’t worth a wipe…

Mrs.Toljaso on September 25, 2009 at 1:00 PM

On a similar note, how much more water will people have to use to wash their hands after trying to “clean” themselves with one little square of cheap paper? And how much more illness wil result from the inevitible increase in hand contact with, uhh, contaminated material?

MikeA on September 24, 2009 at 8:36 PM

I haven’t read all the comments, sorry, got a sick kid at home, but have these “environmentalists” offered any alternatives that would successfully create less use of evil terlit paper??? And not have unintended consequences that would be vastly more expensive and wasteful?

4shoes on September 25, 2009 at 1:31 PM

The reason, they say, is that plush U.S. toilet paper is usually made by chopping down and grinding up trees that were decades or even a century old.

That is absolute crap. Most paper products and softwood lumber are made from trees grown as crops on farms.

Vashta.Nerada on September 25, 2009 at 1:31 PM

Just took the grand tour of an old sewage plant…..phewwww!!! I know more about effluent than I really wanted to know.

yoda on September 25, 2009 at 1:41 PM

Ya know what a tree is? A great big weed, nothing more. The reason busybody enviro dumbasses want us to stop using them is because they are useful. Think about it, what useful product have they not attacked?

Oh, and anyone who thinks Sheryl Crow only uses one square of TP for anything is smoking some really good stuff! She made the claim because she thought it sounded good and no one would ever be able to confirm it.

runawayyyy on September 25, 2009 at 1:42 PM

Why go after tp, you ask? Because these f*ck*rs will not be happy until they control everything individual Americans do — even the way we wipe our a$$es.

Dark Star on September 25, 2009 at 2:08 PM

I use recycled toilet paper. The Mercal Small Steps is priced inline with the non recycled stuff (the 7th generation is ridiculously expensive).

I’m not an environmentalist tree hugger…I just think its stupid to wipe my ass with virgin fibers.

Seriously. I use the product for about 2 seconds, then I flush it down the toilet. Using virgin fibers to literally smear shit on is just a waste of our resources.

beefytee on September 25, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Ya know what a tree is? A great big weed, nothing more. The reason busybody enviro dumbasses want us to stop using them is because they are useful. Think about it, what useful product have they not attacked?

wow, really?

A tree is a LOT more than a big weed. I’m not a botanist or anything, but a tree does quite a lot of things that a tree is incapable of doing.

Also, a weed takes days to reach maturity, trees take decades.

The idea that trees are better put to use as shit smearers than as lumber is just silly.

beefytee on September 25, 2009 at 2:48 PM

Ya know what a tree is? A great big weed, nothing more.
runawayyyy on September 25, 2009 at 1:42 PM

Ummm, that is not a wise remark. If I knew that toilet paper was coming from these beauties I would probably choose to use leaves from the trees out back.
TP is not made from centuries old giants and trees are not weeds.

FireBlogger on September 25, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Save a tree use TP!

Speakup on September 25, 2009 at 3:54 PM

this is obamamas way of bailing out the news papers

huckelberry on September 25, 2009 at 4:29 PM

toilet paper. The Mercal Small Steps is priced inline with the non recycled stuff (the 7th generation is ridiculously expensive).

I’m not an environmentalist tree hugger…I just think its stupid to wipe my ass with virgin fibers.

Seriously. I use the product for about 2 seconds, then I flush it down the toilet. Using virgin fibers to literally smear shit on is just a waste of our resources.

beefytee on September 25, 2009 at 2:44 PM

i’ll quit flushing and you can use my recycled paper. or you can use the nyt’s or wapo or time mag ,their as full of shiite as my afore mentioned recycled cast offs are. this is a boon for the old grey lady, think of the new subscriptions.

huckelberry on September 25, 2009 at 4:39 PM

Toilet paper. Toilet paper?

Talk about nit-picking, especially when Algore spends more money to light his three mansions than us average folks make in a year.

Find me a lib who’s willing to defend this insanity with both long-term sobriety and a straight face. I gotta hear that argument!

Liam on September 25, 2009 at 6:49 PM

Sounds like a job for some environmentalist with an advance degree to come up with a process to improve the recycled product. If he finds a way to do it better, and cheaper then we might just promote him to capitalist.

DFCtomm on September 25, 2009 at 7:31 PM

Find me a lib who’s willing to defend this insanity with both long-term sobriety and a straight face. I gotta hear that argument!

Liam on September 25, 2009 at 6:49 PM

AfroTurd is tripping over his own stupidity over on the Rush thread. Maybe he’ll come over here and amuse us with his wit and wisdom on the subject.

ronnyraygun on September 25, 2009 at 8:40 PM

this is obamamas way of bailing out the news papers

huckelberry on September 25, 2009 at 4:29 PM

OMG I am laughing my butt off tonight!!!

4shoes on September 25, 2009 at 10:24 PM

AfroTurd is tripping over his own stupidity over on the Rush thread. Maybe he’ll come over here and amuse us with his wit and wisdom on the subject.

ronnyraygun on September 25, 2009 at 8:40 PM

You give too much credit. Fro has neither wit nor wisdom. But I imagine you have that part figured out already.

Toilet paper is the last thing anyone should be worrying about, let alone giving press releases on the matter. Must be a fetish, where some people like it rough back there. Libs are into free love and all that, right?

Liam on September 25, 2009 at 10:26 PM

http://i277.photobucket.com/albums/kk77/Madman_Lance/save_a_tree.jpg

justltl on September 25, 2009 at 11:48 PM

Why would I wipe my arse with one?

chickasaw42 on September 26, 2009 at 7:55 AM

Why not do something that would actually help us like banning junk mail? The majority of my trash is junk mail.

Jerricho68 on September 26, 2009 at 2:32 PM

In a pinch the pages of the koran are extra soft and absorbent.

Jerricho68 on September 26, 2009 at 2:33 PM

test

justltl on September 26, 2009 at 8:19 PM

Just have to say this.

Treehuggers, get off my a$$!

whig33 on September 27, 2009 at 12:20 AM

This is easy. If TP is five percent, and newspapers are three percent then the problem is already solved. At the rate newspapers are going out of business, in a year or two we’ll have a three percent savings right there! And we’ll still have fluffy stuff on our backside.

See simple.

archer52 on September 27, 2009 at 1:53 AM