11/01/2012 Update: This is an old post. Seventh Generation has since replaced the product mentioned in this post with this one.
Eureka! One more plastic problem solved! I’ve been leaning towards Seventh Generation individually wrapped 2-ply rolls of toilet paper because they are not only plastic-free, but they also contain the highest percentage of post-consumer recycled content I’ve been able to find. The drawback was that this toilet paper is more expensive per roll than the Quilted Northern that we’d been flushing away for years. $1.35 per roll at Rainbow Grocery and .99 per roll at Berkeley Bowl.
I had considered Marcal individually wrapped, 100% recycled toilet paper. Staples sells an 80-roll case for $59.99 (.75 per roll.) But then I visited Marcal’s website and saw the ad for their “innovative polycase,” which translates as “plastic wrap!” Ugh. If I bought this toilet paper in a store as separate rolls, I’d never know it had been packaged in plastic before being delivered to the store. But now I had seen the plastic, so I just couldn’t buy it.
(12/21/09 Note: Apparently, the Marcal site has been updated with no mention of the polycase or any other form of packaging. It might be worth a call to find out if they are still shipping their toilet paper encased in plastic.)
Instead, I took another look at Seventh Generation and suddenly realized that instead of calculating the cost per roll, I should have been looking at the cost per sheet. Seventh Generation 2-ply rolls contain 500 sheets, as opposed to Quilted Northern Super Absorbent, which contains 352 sheets, or Quilted Northern Ultra, which contains 200 sheets. Per sheet, all three cost about the same.
And then I found a way to save even more money. Amazon.com sells a 48-roll case of plastic-free Seventh Generation Bathroom Tissue, 2-Ply Sheets, 500-Sheet Rolls for $43.56. That’s .9075 per roll. But wait! If you order a toilet paper subscription (yeah, you heard me right) you get the 48-roll case for $37.03, plus a Ginzu knife. Now it’s .77 per roll. (I signed up to receive an automatic delivery every six months. And I’m lying about the Ginzu.)
Okay, so how am I justifying ordering toilet paper from Amazon.com rather than at the local store, considering the greenhouse effects of transportation? Well, first of all, I’m buying in bulk, not 6 rolls at a time. Second, Michael and I don’t own a car, so the only practical way for us to buy in bulk is to order it. Third, we’re only buying it a couple of times a year. And fourth, even if we bought it at a local store, it still had to be shipped there, right? I bought a whole freakin’ case. Give me a break!
Wow. Did you see that? I just had an argument with myself! I wonder who won?
(Here’s Amazon.com’s statement on their environmental policies, for what it’s worth.)
So yeah, affordable plastic-free, recycled, non-chlorine-bleached, bulk toilet paper automatically delivered to my door. But how does the paper actually feel? Ay, there’s the rub. I’ll put it this way… I’m saving my remaining 25 rolls of Quilted Northern for the next time I get a cold. Seventh Generation is fine for my butt, but I’d rather not subject a sore nose to it.
I’m just saying.