Anyone who's known me for a while will pick up on the fact that I make a good faith effort to be Earth-friendly, environmentally-aware, blah blah blah--as much as possible. (Not claiming to be perfect in my low impact choices 100% of the time, by any means...and not so fanatical as to chuck organized society and go live in the woods, foraging for sustenance and leaving absolutely zero carbon footprint...but hopefully somewhere in the sane, middle ground of being sensitive to the issues, while living a normal life as a part of 21st-century civilization...)
So, one of the changes I implemented a few years ago--prompted by my increasing guilt about the ravaging of natural resources for our own fickle human comfort--is opting for recycled paper products. (Hug trees! Don't chop them down to wipe your counters! Yeah...the slogan needs work...but you get the picture, right?) Thus we started using washable napkins and biodegradable cleaning cloths for the kitchen, and I began buying paper towels and toilet paper made from at least partially recycled fibers. And honestly, this was easy to do; chain stores are beginning to get on the bandwagon and carry these items on the shelves, so there's no hardship for the consumer...besides a slightly higher price...which I was willing to pay, in order to uphold my principles...or whatever.
(It should be noted in the interest of full disclosure that the one place at which I must draw the line is: facial tissues. Because as often as I have to blow my nose, it would turn red, dry up, and FALL OFF if I didn't spring for the soft stuff. Confession over...I feel better...moving on...)
But then, just when I had identified my reliable go-to-brands, and was comfortable with my selections, and didn't have to ruminate on it too hard any more...the unthinkable happened. That's right, our local emporiums just suddenly stopped stocking the familiar packages...or any other recycled options, for that matter...leaving me standing in the aisles, staring at the unacceptable alternatives...and wondering what to do. (Such shopping angst! In retrospect, I probably looked like a crazy person, just frozen in the middle of the store wearing a bewildered and slightly panicked expression. Seriously, I'm lucky they didn't alert Security to escort me out...)
Okay, clearly it was time to regroup. Once I regained my wits, I did what any modern-day human--with a computer and Internet access--would do: I Googled that sucker. And let me tell ya, folks, the results were...kind of unexpected...and upsetting. I knew I'd get hits for companies that sold recycled paper products, and I did. But what also popped up in the search results was a plethora of articles detailing the DANGERS of such things. What. The. HECK?
Here's the scoop...you've most likely heard about the recent controversy over the chemical called BPA, and how it's suspected of a variety of health risks, such as disrupting the body's endocrine system...and causing cancer. Well, one of the things the experts who are concerned will tell you to avoid is: register receipts, which are coated in the compound because it keeps the ink from fading. Follow the logic, here: responsible people, who recycle all of their paper...toss receipts in with the rest of it. Therefore, according to the warnings I read, the BPA ends up being transferred to recycled items...which we then use to...um...let's say "rub on various parts of our bodies" and leave it at that, shall we?
Ay yi yi. Apparently, my attempts to be green have instead been endangering my family. Sooooo NOT COOL! Furthermore, now I need to find some other way to be kind to the planet, AND to my loved ones at the same time. But fear not, folks--it's out there, thanks to the gods of Amazon. I present to you: Emerald Brand Tree Free Bath Tissue! The description states that it contains "bagasse, bamboo, and eucalyptus". (I had to look up that first one, but it means residue from sugar cane, basically. Don't overthink it...) It sounded...okay, "weird and kind of nuts"...but worth a shot, so I placed an order.
Then, before the box arrives and I have to do a HUGE explanation for the very people I'm trying to protect...who, let's face it, are not likely to be listening, as they're laughing too loudly, or too busy mocking me for my...crunchy-granola-ness...I sprung it on Derek. Not surprisingly, he sort of stared at me, dumbfounded and shaking his head. Next an impish grin formed on his face, and he abruptly erupted into one of his patented faux-tirades, "This is the third time this week someone's told me one of my habits is gonna give me cancer. First the turf fields, then the asbestos in our school, now toilet paper?"
He paused for just a moment to catch his breath before concluding with a flourish, "What are you people doing to me, making me play soccer, go to school...and wipe my BUTT? (His smile grew in triumph, when I just sat there in silence, unable to quite formulate a response. Then as an afterthought he added, "This is going in the blog, isn't it?" Oh, you bet your...bamboo-cleaned bum, baby...thanks for the material. And you're welcome for the...notoriety?)
His next thought was entirely practical, as he continued to process the information I'd shared, "Wait...bamboo? That's gotta be...rough!" I assured him, based on the comments I had scrolled through, that people had reported--however they manufacture the stuff--it feels fine and works well. But this set him off again for a second, "Whaaaat? Who writes a review...of toilet paper?" (Oh, people have quite a lot to say--you'd be amazed...and also possibly amused...and yes, a wee bit horrified. Hmm, how shall I explain this...I know: you think I'm part hippie? Honey, you have NO IDEA who else is out there...)
So...yeah. The shipping email I received informed me that our little experiment should be here on Monday. At which point I'll be forced to bring Riley and Husband into the loop. And then we'll all experience the (hopefully) magic of skin-and-Earth-compatible toilet paper. I swear, does it seem like sometimes doing the right thing can be a real pain in the you-know-what? But what can I say? That's me: saving the world, one sh...eet at a time! (Ha! Sorry...)