Q.O.T.D.: A greener world from the bottom up?

I don’t know about you, but I despise advertisements for toilet paper almost as much as I despise advertisements for prescription drugs (worse than toilet paper ads only because of the endless lists of possible side effects…as far as I know, toilet paper does not have side effects).

Okay, you say, why on earth is Ellen writing about toilet paper? Well, it’s a paper product that Americans have used with abandon, unlike most of the rest of the world. And, we use bleached products, by and large.

In a recent Utne piece, I learned that toilet paper producers actually may add brown coloring to toilet paper to signal the product’s “greeness.” Still, Americans are reluctant to use toilet paper made from recycled materials.

The now-defunct (1992-2000) Madison Museum of Bathroom Tissue.

With the cost of recycled paper products much lower now, I have taken the leap to “brown” recycled paper products. It’s like the early days of household recycling–or seatbelt use: once adopted, these practices become habitual and I feel self-conscious or guilty or naked if I ignore them. Here’s a link to a wiki article on recycling paper.

Is this more than you wanted to know about me–that my household uses toilet paper made from recycled materials?

Well, I’m gonna take this one step further–today’s Question of the Day is:

What “green” practices have you adopted in recent years?

These practices don’t have to be elaborate or difficult. It’s easier to make change in small increments. What baby steps have you taken?

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7 Comments on “Q.O.T.D.: A greener world from the bottom up?”

  1. Bob Falesch says:

    “…A greener world from the bottom up?”

    Ellen, your (sub)title wins my personal poll in the category of punny charm :–)

  2. Ellen Rocco says:

    Full disclosure…Dale came up with the subtitle. Of course. He’s our resident wit and poet.

  3. Two Cents says:

    I’m so green i’m turning brown

  4. Bob Falesch says:

    Ellen, from what I can tell hanging out on these blogs, there is wit coming from all directions.

  5. Laura says:

    I take my own bags to the grocery store; I take my own cup when I get coffee or tea; I deliberately live within walking distance of work and walk as much as possible, not only to work, but also to run many errands; and I participate in a local CSA (community supported agriculture) plus grow some of my own food.

    I agree that once these become habits they become easy. And in fact I would say that they enhance my life: the bags I use at the grocery store do not cut into my hands or break (as the flimsy plastic ones do); the walking I do is good for me and gives me time to reflect; the CSA brings me in closer touch with local farmers and builds community; etc.

  6. Ken Hall says:

    Ellen, Insulating, renovating a home is likely a more significant greening effort than switching to unbleached paper products. As do you, I heat with wood, with an oil heat backup, because I view it as a renewable, carbon self sequestering system. Whoops not so fast. A quick Google search led me to this interesting article at: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/3374 which leads to a couple of unfortunate conclusions about burning wood to warm our homes in the good ole USA. Stasis for our forests, using wood as heating fuel at the current rate of renewal, could provide about 15% of our current heating requirements. Providing 100% of the heating requirement would denude the US forests in about 4-5 years and both options preclude the manufacturing use of wood. Ah ha, not to worry with the trees gone a large carbon sink disappears allowing the “non” global warming effects of COO to increase the rate of “climate change” and Winter will be so mild we won’t need to heat our homes up here in the North.

    Single most effective green practice humans are capable of is: “do not reproduce”!!!!

    Unfortunately the survival of the species instinct easily overwhelms the rational observation that the exponential increase of the human population is destroying the only lifeboat in space that we are/were fortunate enough to occupy. If we (the US) cannot even place men into low Earth orbit to man the $150-200 billion ISS what is the likelihood we are going to be able to jump ship and head for the Stars utilizing a reaction propulsion system vehicle large enough to carry a crew and settler complement of 100’s or 1000’s before we go over the lemming cliff we are racing pellmell toward.

  7. Anita says:

    When I take the quizzes on the impacts of my life on the rest of the world, I am reminded that as a North American, I have a very large, heavy footprint. That said, I heat with wood, buy as high-mileage cars as I can (our “big” vehicle is a Honda Civic) and use fluorescent lighting throughout my home. I also use recycled toilet paper and paper towels, wash in cold water with non-petroleum based detergents, and dry our clothing on racks, not in a dryer. I only bore one child – maybe it would be greener to have none at all, but I can only do so much. 🙂

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