The Way of the Bidet… the future of the toilet.
If there’s one thing these strange times have taught us, it’s how very quickly we can become hyper-focused on our basic needs. Food, shelter and…toilet paper?
Certainly, one of the earliest and most widespread signs that things were shifting in our consumer habits as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic was the overwhelming run on toilet paper at grocery stores. Which seems bizarre considering that there was no shortage in the supply chain, and it has nothing to do with preventing the spread of Covid 19. The Great TP shortage of 2020 is largely a North American phenomenon though, because in many other parts of the world, some version of the bidet toilet has long been available in most homes.
The bidet traditionally found here in North America is the European style - a separate bowl-type apparatus installed beside the toilet for the washing of the undercarriage specifically. So not exclusively for using after the toilet, but for general cleaning of the privates whenever needed. And while bidets of that type are not very common here in North America, they can sometimes be found in larger bathrooms/larger homes where space and budget are not a factor. What is far more common in bathrooms abroad, however, is the bidet sprayer, a hand-held attachment to the tank or water hookup by a small, shower type hose. (like the one often found beside many kitchen sinks but attached to the toilet.) The bidet sprayer is considerably less costly, doesn’t require any extra space and is an easy DIY install. Another more recent innovation, is the bidet toilet seat. The bidet toilet seat consists of a sprayer installed on the underside of your existing seat, operated by a dial or button control beside the toilet. Either one of these bidet attachments: the sprayer or the seat, simultaneously does a better job of post toilet clean up than paper alone, while reducing the use of toilet paper dramatically.
Almost anyone who has ever toilet trained a child teaches the maxim: “wipe until its clean”. Which seems like a good idea in principle, but sometimes requires a crazy amount of paper to accomplish and even then – is it truly clean?
While bidet attachments may not eliminate the need for paper completely, they will greatly reduce the amount flushed into septic treatment systems– another good thing. Here in North America, we average over 140 rolls per person annually. Quite the tower of paper for a household of 4. Toilet paper is made from pulp – and where does pulp come from? Forests. With estimates as high as 23 percent of all logging of the Canadian Boreal Forest going toward pulp production and toilet products containing 40 percent virgin fiber pulp, we are literally deforesting this country to wipe our butts.
Meanwhile, in France, regular use of the bidet cuts the overall use of toilet paper by half. Half! We need a better solution. And the so-called flushable wet wipes are not a solution. They are, in fact, compounding the problem we already have. Billed to consumers as a fresh clean alternative to toilet paper, not only do personal wet wipes add to the consumption problem, our municipal sewage treatment systems are struggling to process the influx of these wipes which don’t disintegrate easily. So, while the wipes may make you feel like you have cleaned up one mess, you are absolutely contributing to a much, much larger one.
Bidet sprayers and toilet seats offer an easy, cost effective, permanent solution to all these messy problems.
All we must do is change our minds about changing the roll.