Opinion: The Case for Bidets

Why Good Environmentalists Rinse Out Their Bums

For many members of today’s society, anxieties about the environment and the ecological well-being of the planet plague the mind on a regular basis. The scientific community is largely in agreement that without drastic action, the earth could become uninhabitable for humans in the coming decades. Frustrated with governments that subvert this information or corporations that continue ecologically dubious business practices, many are taking it upon themselves to mitigate their individual impact on the environment. Some are turning to alternative forms of transportation, others are changing their diets or installing solar panels on their homes. One universal area of our day-to-day routines that modern Americans can change to take a major cut out of our environmental impact is often overlooked and takes place in the bathroom.

An overwhelming majority of Americans use toilet paper or wet wipes to clean themselves up after visiting the bathroom. In fact, the U.S. produces and consumes more toilet paper products than any other nation. While there is a significant load of paper waste that comes from this consumption, an even more detrimental impact on the environment comes from the production of toilet paper products.

Hundreds of thousands of trees around the globe need to be cut down each day to supply enough raw pulp to meet the current demands for toilet paper. Each year in the United States alone, the processing of this raw pulp requires billions of gallons of water, and over 250,000 tons of chemicals to bleach it into a cotton-soft texture. The production of a single roll of toilet paper takes up to 37 gallons of water alone.

So how can Americans, as both consumers and poopers, cut back on the toll this takes on the ecosystem? Bidets may be a solution.

For those unfamiliar, bidets are those fancy little water fountains that you sit on that shoot water up into your intergluteal cleft to wash all the leftover waste away. They aren’t very common in America, but they are largely used in Europe and Japan.

Bidets offer a number of environmental solutions. Perhaps most significantly, they use less water than the production of toilet paper. As mentioned before, a single roll takes 37 gallons of water to make, but the average bidet takes about an eighth of a gallon per use. You may still need some toilet paper to dry off your backside afterward, but not nearly as much as you would need to wipe yourself clean. Some of the more luxurious models of bidets even have air dryers attached, eliminating the use of paper altogether.

In medical terms, bidets are another plus. Because you’re not using your hands, there is a reduced risk of spreading disease. It’s also way less irritating on your sensitive bits.

Most bidets cost around $100, and can be applied to fit into your toilet bowl at home. Considering that Americans spend on average about $150 on toilet paper each year, it goes without saying that it makes financial sense, too. This would also have a positive impact on public health and finance if bidets were installed in public restrooms, like here on campus.

Plus, with the elimination of toilet paper, nobody would have to argue about whether to install a new roll over versus under anymore (it should be installed over, by the way).

In summation, bidets aren’t just fancy toilet fountains for snobby Europeans. They also could save you money, and help save the planet. For the environmentally anxious folks who want to avoid living life like the “Day After Tomorrow,” the switch makes a ton of sense.

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