Excerpt: The vast majority of Americans still exclusively use toilet paper, though. For many, the bidet remains a fusty porcelain basin vaguely associated with the French. But the technology has evolved. Multibillion-dollar incumbents like Toto, as well as newcomers such as Tushy and Luxe, have stormed the U.S. market, along with a flood of cut-rate manufacturers on Amazon. Bidets that promise to work with almost any toilet are now within reach of every American: Simple versions can be had for just $30.
For the world’s northern forests, that’s great news. The pines, birches and aspens that fringe the Northern Hemisphere are a primary source of virgin pulp to make toilet paper, particularly older, mature trees with longer fibers that manufacturers want to create an ultrasoft texture.
And no one buys more
TP than Americans. The typical person in the United States uses about 24 rolls of toilet paper per year. That’s roughly three times
more than Europeans — and among the highest per capita consumption of any country. Were the country to switch to bidets, millions of trees would likely remain standing every year.
Every year, Americans flush the equivalent of millions of trees down the toilet. Much of this toilet paper comes from trees logged in Canada’s species-rich boreal forests, the vast landscape of plants and wetlands growing below the Arctic Circle. Nearly a quarter of the world’s last intact forest landscapes are in this region, says the Natural Resources Defense Council, storing about the same amount of carbon as three decades’ worth of fossil fuel emissions.
One day, we may come to see wiping our bums with extra-soft toilet paper from virgin forests as we do smoking cigarettes: mainly a good idea for the people who sell the products.