In a quest to lower our carbon footprint, we’ve made all sorts of changes around here. We wanted to use more cloth products and less paper, using only 100% recycled paper products where necessary. It just doesn’t make sense to use virgin trees for our paper needs, and we wanted to support the companies that try to make the world a better place. The biggest expense so far has come with recycled copy/printer paper - it costs quite a bit more than regular - but we feel it’s worth it, and we’re more careful about what we print. I’m happy to say that we’ve really made a dent in our own waste stream.
Speaking of waste streams, toilet paper is the one item on which we couldn’t seem to compromise. We have tried every kind of recycled toilet paper you can get at all the major stores, and they all suck. Thin, flimsy, and sometimes an off-putting grey color (I’m all for no bleach, but yuck), none of them made the grade.
We’ve finally found toilet paper we can feel good about and enjoy using! It comes from a company called ‘Who Gives a Crap’ and we love their toilet paper. 100% recycled and THREE-ply, no dyes, no inks, no scent, and the company donates 50% of their profits to help build sanitation systems in countries that need them. They don’t know I’m writing this, and I’ve received no compensation for writing about this product, I’m just thrilled to finally find a really good recycled toilet paper and I wanted to pass the information on. I ordered a case (48 rolls) and got free shipping. Plus, the rolls come in a cardboard box (compostable) and each roll is wrapped in recycled paper (recyclable) - there is zero plastic in the packaging. The rolls are big and last a long time. I also ordered paper towels, though we use very few now, and I’m happy about them too. Next time, I’m going to order recycled 3-ply tissues (3-ply is hard to find even in conventional tissues anymore) even though we don’t use a lot of tissue and I’m personally trying to remember to carry handkerchiefs everywhere.
If you’d like to read more about this company (started by millennials, natch), you can go HERE. One of the things we are studying in my Ecology class is these one-use products and how much energy they take to actually make. It’s not just the end of the waste stream that’s impactful, it’s also all the energy that goes into the production. It still takes energy to make toilet paper, whether it’s being made with fresh trees or with recycled paper, but at least we can cut the tree part out of the equation. As I’ve said before, there’s always a payoff somewhere. You’ve just got to find the area in which you feel like you are doing the most good with as little harm as possible. We’re not gonna stop using toilet paper, right? So we have to figure out the way to use it that works best.
The payoff for this particular company is where production takes place. The founders are in Australia, and the product is made in China, which isn’t ideal. It is the one place they could find that wouldn’t use plastic packaging. Since China takes a lot of recyclables from other countries, they had the most supply of paper to recycle to make the products. Even the boxes they ship in are recycled.
But again, this isn’t ideal. Here’s what the company says about this: “For our North American launch, we’ve sea freighted containers of stock into both the east and west coast, and are distributing from there. Don’t worry, we’re not flying your toilet paper orders over from Australia! It's still early days of our international growth, and selling in the US opens up a lot of new opportunities in terms of supply chain and partnering with more local producers. This is something we'll keep exploring as we grow our volumes and have better leverage on pricing.”
In other news, the bees are looking crowded despite the extra room we gave them, and I think a swarm might be imminent. I already have a person lined up who wants to take a swarm if we can catch it. I haven’t seen a huge amount of native bees out yet, it might still be too cold, but I have seen a couple of black-tailed bumblebees in the borage and lupine. We’re still getting lots of rain (amazing!) and chilly nights. But the days are starting to warm into the low 60’s, and it won’t be long until everything bursts into bloom.