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Environmental Issues

An average person uses 8.6 sheets of toilet paper per trip. This correlates to 57 sheets per day and about 20,800 sheets a year. Although not everyone in the world uses toilet paper, simply taking 1 billion toilet paper users will net you 20 trillion sheets used, about 170 million trees chopped, and 9,460,000 cubic meters of landfill space needed for disposal – This is per year!

The above calculations are based on the following: 500 sheets (2 ply) = 0.5 lbs, 1 Ton (2000 lbs) of paper = 17 softwood trees* (3,688 lbs of wood and 24,000 gallons of water), 500 sheets = 1 cup = 0.0002365 cubic meters.

Most home-use toilet paper brands are made using "virgin fiber"— meaning fresh trees. Making a ton of virgin toilet paper requires 3,688 lbs of wood and 24,000 gallons of water. Toilet paper is a non-renewable resource that is turned into sewage sludge. The sludge from the sewage treatment process is allowed to dry for weeks before it is cleared to be used as landfill. However, future land restrictions due to overflowing landfills may limit disposal of sludge waste.

Another problem is chlorine bleaching; the main process used to make pure white toilet paper. Statistics show that 1,000kg of pulp requires 50 to 80kg of chlorine to bleach. Toxic organochlorides are the waste products of bleaching which are sometimes directly discharged into rivers, seas and even oceans. Even if they are disposedsafely, there always lies the risk of toxin contamination when handling the waste products of bleaching**. Organochlorides, like dioxin, are not naturally occurring so they do not degrade readily and persist in theenvironment for long periods of time. They are banned today because they are carcinogenic while somehave the ability to cause chromosomal damage. Research has irrefutably shown that dioxin also causes reproductive disorders in adults, developmental and deformities problems in children,and the failing of the immune system.

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