Return of the bidet
Visitors to Biffy.com are greeted with a commercial featuring beautiful women all smiling brilliantly while describing what a clean, fresh feeling their Biffy gives them—Biffy being the thing that cleans their bottoms after using the toilet.
The Nevada-based company American Biffy Company is attempting to revive the bidet—that bathroom device of old, which is still commonly used in Europe. While similar to the bidet, the Biffy is a “personal rinse device” that attaches to the toilet seat rim and, when activated, provides a burst of water to the potty-goer’s bum, ideally making toilet paper unnecessary. It retails for about $100, and the company is touting it as an eco-friendly device that could “reduce toilet paper consumption by 75 percent.”
Reviewers of the product at EcoTechDaily.com think its paper-saving value is minimal, as “most tissue-grade paper is made from sawdust and leftover scraps of timber cut for other purposes.” They also mention how its purpose could backfire: While some people who’ve just had their butts sprayed with water will use a wash cloth or towel to dry off, others will reach for toilet paper anyway. However, the review found the Biffy’s environmental worth in the water it saves. While it uses treated water—its flow rate is 1.6 gallons per minute, but operates for only 3-5 seconds—that water is less than what’s needed to manufacture even recycled toilet paper.