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The G Word

The G team blog on all things green

Toilet talk

Toilet rolls

The average person uses 20,805 sheets of toilet paper a year. Reduce your impact by using recycled!

Credit: Clipart

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Happy World Toilet Day everybody! No, we're not being - ahem - cheeky - today really is globally recognised as the day to be loo-aware.

The main point of the day is to raise awareness about sanitation, or lack thereof it, around the world. Indeed, 2.5 billion people currently live without access to proper sanitation, which is not only an unpleasant but an unsafe situation, with 1.8 million people (sadly, mostly children) dying from related health issues each year.

But today is also a day for those of us blessed with a button to flush to think about the impact of our own dunny habits.

Each of us visits the toilet an estimated 2,500 times a year - meaning we spend about three years of our entire lives in the loo! Surely, between newspaper reading and toilet paper folding, this is enough time for us to mull over our bathroom impacts and set about making a change?

Let's begin with toilet paper. Despite it's dirty job, the typical roll of toilet paper sitting in Aussie bathrooms comes from virgin - and often old growth - sources. And a lot of it is unnecessarily bleached, printed, quilted and perfumed to boot.

Meeting the fate it does, why do Australian's continue to insist their loo roll is perfectly processed and prettified? Plain, unbleached and, most importantly, recycled paper will do just a good a job, and will make our environment much happier too.

This is the message of the latest independent Aussie campaign hoping to win our hearts, minds and, err, bottoms - the Wipe It Out campaign.

Wipe It Out's mission is to flush non-recycled toilet paper from supermarket shelves by 2014.

"Let us not be so rude as to chop down a tree and turn it in to toilet paper for its first and final use," says Aaron Fuller, the Sydneysider behind the campaign.

"One tonne of toilet paper made from recycled paper saves 31,000 litres of water and 400 kilograms of greenhouse gases."

You can pledge your support for the campaign, and make promises about your own loo paper use HERE.

As well thinking about the toilet paper we use, World Toilet Day is also a good time for us to be thinking about how we flush it away.

Your toilet whisks away an average of six litres of drinking quality water per flush, meaning the average person is flushing away around 40 to 50,000 litres a year - enough to fill a large backyard pool.

Today is the day to pledge allegiance to the half-flush function if you have it and to observe the 'golden rule' of letting it mellow if it's yellow (at home only, please!).

So know that we've got your mind down the toilet, go forth and spread the word! Sanitation and sustainability – it’s what today’s all about!

(PS - If you want more reading on the subject, check out our story on recycled toilet paper.