Keeping it clean

Toilet paper is wiping out the environment.

Toilet paper is wiping out the environment.

Photo By

Last time Auntie said spring had sprung, it proceeded to rain for a week straight. Now, however, Sacramento’s famed fair spring weather does indeed appear to be upon us, as evidenced by the number of people Auntie saw last weekend hiking, playing baseball, bicycling, gardening and … washing their cars. In their driveways. Right next to the little sign with the fish that tells you not to dump anything, including wastewater from washing your car, down the storm drain. That nasty water flows right into the creek, where it wreaks all manner of environmental havoc. So listen up, ’cause this is gonna sound a little counterintuitive: Next time you wash your car, drive it onto the lawn or some other pervious surface first. That way the water will go into the ground, which will filter out the soap.

Auntie knows she’s not the only one who’s been caught squeezing the Charmin. But no one said sustainability was going to be easy. If you really want to show you care more about the planet than your own behind, it’s time to take another look at the recycled rough stuff. That’s because that baby-smooth softness comes only from standing trees, millions of them, including trees from Canadian old-growth forests. Unfortunately, at present, Americans seem more interested in covering their own asses. We are the largest consumers of toilet tissue and the biggest offenders when it comes to using eco-unfriendly products. Products comprising 100 percent recycled fibers amount to only 2 percent of the entire market.

Of course, it’s SN&R’s business to be ahead of the curve, and to that effect, roughly two years ago, the company switched from paper towels in the bathroom to those little red shop rags your mechanic wipes his wrenches off with. Instead of drying our hands on paper towels, we use the shop rags. When they’re dirty, we just send them to the cleaners, cutting down on waste paper. Some of the employees here, bucking against this totalitarian change in lifestyle, refer to the rags as “Mao towels.” Not Auntie. After all, no one said we had to use the towels for just our hands. She hasn’t felt anything this soft since the last time she got caught squeezing the Charmin.