15% of Deforestation Is Due to Toilet Paper Alone. Here’s How We Can Fix This.

Every year, the environmental nonprofit Global Footprint Network quantifies the amount of waste humans produce by tracking the annual Earth Overshoot Day—the day on which we’ve consumed more resources than the planet can regenerate in a single year. In 1971, back when we were a bit more sustainable, we made it all the way until December 21 before tapping out the planet’s yearly allocation of resources.

In 2017, however, the date was August 2, making this the most wasteful year of the past 46 by the organization’s calculations. If we continue on this path of mass consumption and pollution, they estimate, our resource needs will be equivalent to the bounty of two Earths by 2030 (spoiler: We only have one Earth at the moment).

We’re in serious debt. If we don’t scale back on our reliance of natural resources, we won’t have any left to use.

As humans consume, so too do we waste. We waste things we never even think about using, and we do so at a spectacular rate. Take toilet paper, for example. Americans spend $6 billion on toilet paper every year, more than people in any other country in the world. And have you ever thought about the environmental cost of TP’s production? Annually, it takes 1.7 trillion liters (437 billion gallons) of water, 253,000 tons of bleach, and 15 million trees to feed America’s toilet paper habit....more