Sunday, May 13, 2012

Taboo Bamboo

Last weekend marked a landmark purchase for me.  Was the Malibu finally put to rest, you ask?  Absolutely not--it's still rolling along, strong mediocre as ever...a little more rust, perhaps, but I gave up on appearances long ago.  Last Saturday, for just the second time in my nearly six years of Minnesota residency, I purchased toilet paper!  Thanks to bulk-buying at Sam's Club, I'm able to go years between TP purchases, despite being a self-diagnosed "heavy user."

Last Saturday was no exception to my bulk-buying pattern and, with my supply rapidly dwindling, I returned to my staple: a giant box of POM bath tissue with enough sheets to circle the globe more than eleven times.  It took an army of four workers and a pallet jack to help me load this into the Malibu:

Best of all, the rolls are labeled for resale, so if there's an emergency run on toilet paper in the next few years, I stand to make a small fortune.  For now, I plan to earn my money the old fashioned way, though, since I haven't read any economic headlines along the lines of, "TP prices escalate as demand in China skyrockets."

As James prepared for his move to Africa two summers ago and cleaned out his apartment, he left me with nine rolls of high quality (unused) three-ply toilet paper that felt like angels gently stroking my posterior every time I did my dirty, sinful business.  Having now exhausted that supply along with my previous inventory of POM, I'm back to the one-ply stuff that feels reminiscent of very fine sandpaper.  It's a price/comfort trade-off that I'll just have to get used to again.  Once those calluses return, I'm sure I'll be fine...

Despite the unheavenly quality of POM's product, I thought about stocking up on two of these giant boxes after reading a recent article about a new breakthrough in toilet paper technology.  In the U.K., Kimberly Clark markets a brand of toilet paper called Andrex, and they're now extending their product line with the launch of Andrex Eco.  The Eco line is made from 90% recycled fiber, which isn't terribly's the other 10% that has put Eco in the headlines.

The remaining portion of Andrex Eco toilet paper is made from bamboo!  As part of an effort to offer a "green" TP, Kimberly Clark chose bamboo as the miracle input, since bamboo produces more fiber on less land than normal trees that are used to make standard toilet paper. The Eco line will be the first mainstream toilet paper brand in the U.K. to feature bamboo.

Hippies around the world are high-fiving, and now it's only a matter of time before we start seeing bamboo toilet paper on shelves here in the U.S.  So why was I prepared to buy a second piano case-sized package of POM toilet paper?  Bamboo in TP is a new phenomenon, and any new manufacturing process has its kinks in the early going.  If only I had a bigger car and a much, much larger bathroom closet, I certainly wouldn't mind sitting on a six-year supply of old fashioned, tried and tested TP.

Think about how frustrating it is to eat a supposedly "boneless" piece of chicken, only to chip a tooth on a bone that managed to sneak through the de-boning process.  And how dangerous it is when you're eating a salad with allegedly "pitted" olives and nearly choke to death on a rogue olive pit?  Both of those processes are well established, but clearly far from foolproof.

Do I really want to risk it with toilet paper?  Bamboo is deceptively strong--in fact, it's one of the strongest materials out there, to the point that it's used to build houses and reinforce concrete in parts of the world where bamboo is in plentiful supply.  The last thing I need is a shard of that sneaking it's way into my TP supply.  Green toilet paper?  One stray sliver of bamboo near my backside could make for some very, very red toilet paper...

Call me paranoid, but I think I'll wait a good five or six years and make sure that Kimberly Clark figures out every possible step that could go wrong in the bamboo toilet paper manufacturing process.  I'm all for saving the world, but first I want to be sure to save my own @ss...quite literally...

If you're a reckless, wild risk-taker who wants to find out more about bamboo toilet paper, you'll enjoy this link:

No comments:

Post a Comment