Toilet paper, tampons, cotton swabs, and baby wipes are all personal care staples that, perhaps surprisingly, come with hefty environmental costs. From upstream problems, like logging crucial boreal forests for wood pulp that becomes toilet paper, to post-use issues like the centuries it can take a tampon to biodegrade, many of these single-use products come with serious environmental costs.
There are smarter, more ecologically sound choices to make for almost every item, and some may even be upgrades. Take toilet paper, for example. Instead of using toilet paper from virgin wood pulp sourced from Canada’s boreal forests, you can select to buy single-ply paper from recycled pulp. But if you’re a really dedicated environmentalist, you could try installing a bidet, which is common in Europe and can radically reduce toilet paper use. Cotton swabs are another product you don’t really need to use. Instead, just rinse your ears in the shower with warm and you will actually clean your ears more effectively. Looking for eco-friendly replacements for tampons, sanitary pads, and baby wipes? Just take a quick a look here.