When you think of trees and wood pulp products, you often think of paper itself. But have you ever considered paper towels and toilet paper? As many as 51,000 trees are needed to replace the amount of paper towels discarded each day. We flush down 27,000 trees a day in toilet paper.
Interestingly, we probably even use paper towels and toilet paper more than paper itself. Add to this cotton pads and cotton swabs, which feature prominently in our bathroom trash bins. If you don't know this already, cotton is often cultivated with extremely harmful pesticides and the water used in the process is tainted and therefore wasted.
At some point we were all taught that using disposable, one-time use products is normal, but it's only a recent phenomena that developed with industrialization and, of course, globalization. Luckily, there are recycled and reusable versions that are more planet-friendly. They also will save you money down the line, especially if you lean into reusable versions.
First, start out with recycled. Recycled toilet paper, paper towels, cotton pads, and cotton swabs. Then see if you can rise to the level of reusable. For example, when you reach for a recycled paper towel, think about using a microfiber cloth or dish towel instead. The beauty of these is that they can be washed and reused for years to come.
In our minds, it's all about striking a balance. None of us will be perfect, but at the least we can become more aware and conscious of everyday consumption.
A private residence in Sotogrande, Spain designed by Ricardo Legorreta.