Thursday, October 4, 2012

Simple Suggestion #139... Count your squares

Today is the feast day of one of my favourite guys, the saint of ecology, Francis of Assisi. He's the Passionate Troubadour about whom I've posted several moodlings already, one of my favourites being the conversation between God and Francis about the Urbanite tribes. Somehow, I imagine Francis chuckling along with me as I go about explaining this week's simple suggestion. It seems a little bit silly, and he was fond of jokes.

 A few weeks ago, on my Master Composter/Recycler Facebook page, I found the following survey:

I've been thinking about this post: toilet paper = waste ( Poll Question: What do you do with toilet paper?
  • I count six squares or less
  • I fold
  • I use a wadding technique
  • Add an answer
My initial reaction was "Whaaat the...? Now this is carrying things a little far!" In all honesty, I was slightly annoyed that anyone would question my use of toilet paper! But since I quite like Rodney, the fellow who posted the poll, I almost cheerfully checked off the first option under his possibly rhetorical question and went on my merry way. Except...

Except that darn, not-so-rhetorical question made me think. Here I am, a proud user of recycled paper products of all kinds, a practitioner of voluntary simplicity, and I had never given my use of toilet paper a first thought, never mind a second. Clearly it's one of those things that I take for granted. But anything that goes into the sewer or trash can deserves some thought, because it is WASTE, and wasting anything, even by necessity, isn't the best plan if I truly love my planet and every creature on it and seriously strive to lessen my ecological footprint.

Of course, in the need-it or want-it scheme of life, toilet paper is a definite need. As you may already know, I'm a strong advocate for avoiding disposables and using rags, so our family has the paper towel thing under control, but we do seem to go through an awful lot of toilet paper. However, Rodney's little MC/R Facebook survey led to some family conversations about conserving toilet paper (and other things), and that was really good... because I've noticed recently that our toilet paper isn't disappearing quite so quickly. Awareness is an excellent thing!

So if you're feeling slightly annoyed by today's Simple Suggestion to count your squares, think of it as a metaphor for conserving just about anything. The word REDUCE is the most important of the three environmentally friendly Rs. Giving some serious thought to what we use and how we can use less makes a huge difference to the health of the earth now that there are seven billion of us who can conserve many, many forests and other resources if we're just mindful of our practices.

So thanks, Rodney, for making me think. And honestly, I don't really expect an answer to this question, but what do you do with toilet paper?

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Moodler.
    I feel guilty that I helped to start a discussion, but I haven't taken another step. This blog post got me thinking.

  2. Hi Maria, I also read Rodney's poll but couldn't post this on FB!! We use cloth diapers for our babe and occasionally need to use a disposable wipe. These wipes go through the wash with the diapers and come out perfectly clean and usable again. So we cut them in half and use them as toilet paper. We've never shared this info with anyone because it's not the kind of thing you would normally talk about, but it's a little frugal thing that makes me happy :)

    1. Wow, you're amazing recylers... do you use hankies, too? Haven't managed to talk my family out of tissues yet.


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