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Tissue Issue: Comfort or Conservation?

A majority of Our Readers Who Comment this morning prefer soft toilet paper, based on what they have to say about an article reporting environmentalists' concerns that old-growth forests are being destroyed because their wood fibers produce softer tissue than recycled paper.

As David A. Fahrenthold writes: "Big toilet-paper makers say that they've taken steps to become more Earth-friendly but that their customers still want the soft stuff, so they're still selling it."

Some readers decry the environmental damage and ask why we do things like this to our world. Others complain about enviro-Nazis and see this another example of how we are losing our way. Several readers ask why The Washington Post is devoting a talented reporter and front-page space to this subject..

We'll start with Pythagoris who wrote, "If this article does not convince America that these environmentalists are totally out of their tree, then nothing will. In addition to already causing millions of manufacturing jobs to be shipped overseas, destroying whole segments of our economy, and destroying the buying power of the average American, now they want us to destroy our bodies for their own wacky purposes... Enough is enough..."

And senatorblbo said, "As a devout Republican I say my Goddess Ann Coulter has decreed that "God gave us the earth to rape." And the great James Watt said that when the last tree is cut down, Jesus will return. So God has given me the divine right to wipe my butt with old growth forests."

But Greenmom323 wrote, "I had no idea that the soft/less soft difference was old growth forest use. This article forever changed the toilet paper I buy...I don't give a fig between cuddly soft and slightly less soft. Thanks DAF for the education."

ebw343 had a different view of DAF's work: "Four years of college, working your way up the journalism ladder, and they've got you writing an article about toilet paper. Time to re-think your career choice, David."

bandmom22 wrote, "...here's an idea. "environmentalists" can use corn cobs for all I care, just leave the rest of us alone to do with as we will."

luca_20009 said, "Too funny! Yu have to humor the greenies like that teenage son you have who's convinced he's gonna make it big as a rock star....just let them be and they'll figure out eventually that most don't want to end up scraping their bottoms with pine cones."

RobertaHigginbotham wrote, "My price point is $0.25 per roll. You're talking store-brand, but it gets the job done, with no adverse effects..."

hisroc asked, "Is this the Washington Post or the Onion?..."

DualTurbos wrote, "I'd say that it's Greenpeace's job to educate folks. I read a lot, and I've never heard this bit about old growth trees before... Blaming Americans for being wasteful and stupid about something when they havent' been informed about it is what is really wasteful and stupid. Get the message out..."

Kansasgirl said, "I can't believe how environmentalist bully the entire world with their mandates. It's become a religion with these people."

jburnetti wrote, "Going through college, I had a wonderful, well paying summer job at the Charmin factory in Tobyhanna PA. Soft toilet paper provides good, recession proof jobs for the good people of Pennsylvania. Donate to the Earth Conservancy - but enjoy your soft toilet paper. The alternative is too hard to bear."

katerinaDeligiannis said, "No thanks, they have that type of toilet paper in Europe and Canada. It is alsi narrower and each sheet is shorter. It hurts when you wipe particularly on the female genitalia.I take my own with me when I travel. I can give up a lot of things but not t.p."

yokosuka1985 asked, "Can't the tree huggers just leave us alone?"

We'll close with nanonano1, who suggested that "We need a 'Toilet Paper Czar.' "

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  September 24, 2009; 7:58 AM ET
 | Tags: Environment, Toilet Paper, Trees  
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Next: The Iranian Missile Test

Comments

That soft toilet paper falls apart in my butt and walk around with pieces of toilet paper in your ass. You do, too, when you use it. You need a firm paper to get the crap out!

Posted by: DJMonet | September 27, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

As a boy many years ago I remember planting more than 2 oak trees using acorns.
I have preplanned my toilet paper use for me and many others.
Enough already!

Posted by: rcpaynewv | September 26, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

As a boy many years ago I remember planting more than 2 oak trees using acorns.
I have preplanned my toilet paper use for me and many others.
Enough already!

Posted by: rcpaynewv | September 26, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

My advice to katerinaDeligiannis, learn to drip dry.

Posted by: Frazil | September 24, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable! We live in a nation that doesn't even value human life (as we see with abortion) and these environmentalist expect us to be concerned with what kind of toilet paper we flush. My thoughts... When people begin valuing human life then maybe we will concern ourselves about saving the planet that helps sustain it! Until then your not going to convince me to give up plush (as long as I still have a CHOICE!

Posted by: flustered1 | September 24, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable! We live in a nation that doesn't even value human life (as we see with abortion) and these environmentalist expect us to be concerned with what kind of toilet paper we flush. My thoughts... When people begin valuing human life then maybe we will concern ourselves about saving the planet that helps sustain it! Until then your not going to convince me to give up plush (as long as I still have a CHOICE!

Posted by: flustered1 | September 24, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I've HAD IT with these greenie-weenie whack-a-doodle lunatic fringe "environmental activists". We just want to live our lives in peace without being molested by liberal busybody malcontents who can't even run their own affairs. It's time that groups such as Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace be correctly identified for what they are -- saboteurs. During World War II they would have been rounded up, subjected to a quick military tribunal and summarily shot. Since the U.S. is currently at war, this option should be seriously considered.

Posted by: tonyr4096 | September 24, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Taking up the newspaper's invitation to "analyze" this article, in India we have something similar to the European bidet described by gaffmeister above.
It's called a "hygiene faucet": a spring loaded water jet attached to a hose located next to the pot. After finishing the job all one has to do is to maintain a crouching posture over the toilet, pick up the jet, point the nozzle at the offending spot, and press the trigger, and voila!, you're ready to pull your pants up.
Not a single tree need ever be felled!

Which brings me to an environment friendly poem I remember from my school days-

In the days of old
When the knights were bold
And paper wasn't invented
They used to rub their ass
Over the grass
And walk away contended

Posted by: nungud | September 24, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised to see so many people nearly come to blows over toilet paper (maybe the government should forget mandating recycled content and consider mandating anger management classes).

We switched to 100% recycled over a year ago and I can't think of a way, good or bad, that it has impacted our lives. And it's pretty cheap at Trader Joe's too.

Posted by: sarahabc | September 24, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

A very interesting article that ignores 2 important points. First that super target does not carry a recycled brand of toilet paper. Every time I shop I look for seventh generation to no avail, leaving us consumers without a choice. Secondly, almost all of these brands bleach their paper with chlorine. This adds industrial chlorine chemicals into the local environments of the paper mills. It also means a small dose of chlorine with every wipe, enjoy...

Posted by: mac76 | September 24, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure this will gross out a lot of prudish Americans, but an ingenious and eco-friendly solution for personal hygiene has existed in Europe for decades. It's called the "bidet". Once you finish your business you take a small, but gently wipe with paper - one pass will do, then transfer to the bidet and with warm water and soap you wash your bottom. It's hygienic, eco-friendly, refreshing and you don't walk around all day with those left-over bits of toilet tissue hanging from your rear-end. It's also a great way to avoid hemorrhoids. Once you try it you'll never go back to plain toilet paper again.

Posted by: stevenfosborne | September 24, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

This article speaks to a massive cultural disconnect most Americans have...we aren't aware of the unintended consequences of our individual actions against the whole. Consider the person who would like to dispose his/her water bottle in a recycling bin, only to find there aren't any around...uses a trash can. Even well intentioned folks succumb to laziness on our landfill problem. This is a horrible legacy we're leaving our kids to sort out!

Posted by: gaffmeister | September 24, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

I say , Air drop a pallet of some Tissue made of recycled paper into Castro's back yard and keep the soft stuff for the Liberals in Washington. At least Obama's foreign policy would get a + mark for effort.

Posted by: grampasranch | September 24, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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