Have you ever thought about what goes into making the humble toilet paper roll? That is, just how many trees are sacrificed for us to wipe ourselves on this precious essential?
Well, the team at QS Supplies thought about this. They actually published some research this month, focusing on a few stats from the toilet paper, um, industry? Specifically, they looked into the Earth’s toilet bowl, from population, life expectancy and average toilet roll usage data for countries where paper is the norm and calculated how much toilet paper the locals use in a year and a lifetime.
The environmental toll is massive. Logging (sorry) for the type of paper used in toilet rolls impacts millions upon millions of acres per year of precious forest.
Some global toilet paper findings include an average person (in this example, from Portugal), uses 643.36 miles of toilet paper in their lifetime, China uses the most, at over 4 billion miles of toilet paper each year and that it takes 31.11 million trees each year to supply the U.S. with toilet paper.
But what about in Australia?
Well, the study found that Australians use 88 rolls each per year. If you live for 80 years, and you started using an actual toilet at two, this is around 7,040 toilet paper rolls in your lifetime, by the way. That’s around 675 kms.
A single tree provides up to 1,500 toilet rolls per year. That’s enough for around 17 people. And that’s just the big trees.This means just shy of 1.5 million trees are needed for us to keep up this annual TP demand.
They went one further. QS Supplies asked the question: If you laid out all of the rolls of toilet paper used by a country in one year, what would that look like? For China, it would be 6.45 billion kms (further than the distance from Earth to Neptune, but not quite Pluto, to save you measuring) and for the U.S., it’s 4.27 billion kms. For Australia, its 205 million kms – the Earth is only 147.38 million kms away from the Sun, for context.
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