Potty Tech: Which Is Greener, Toilet Paper Or A Bidet?

Over the course of our publication day, we might receive a dozen or so unsolicited product pitches. Some are useful; some are blatant greenwashing; and a few make us think.

Take, for example, the note waiting for us this morning in the inbox:

Hi, I was hoping you could incorporate the story below into your site/blog.  It talks about a bidet invention that helps reduce toilet paper usage, helping the environment in the process.

Ah the bidet. Common in parts of Europe and a few other places around the world, but a mystery to the majority of Americans. For most, a bidet is a novelty to be contemplated in the dark recesses of some French hotel room, not a component of greener living.

The bidet in question, the Biffy Personal Rinse, seemed nice enough: a bolt-on attachment for standard commodes which retails for about $100. That’s a good value when compared to the rather hefty price people pay for traditional bidets. But it got us wondering: how green is this thing, really, especially when compared to recycled toilet paper?

A touchy subject

Its difficult to understand why environmentalists are so willing to discuss their bathroom habits with perfect strangers or get those same strangers to start greening up by changing such an intimate aspect of their lives. With all the possible ways to lighten ones environmental footprint, you’d think potty time would be about the last thing on the list.

Sheryl Crow learned this the hard way, becoming the butt of late night talk show jokes after calling for the rationing of toilet paper. Public reaction was predictable. Colin Beavan, a New York writer also known as No Impact Man, quickly discovered his family’s abandonment of toilet paper was usually the first topic raised when interviewed about his year of low-impact living.

That being said, were all about saving resources. Lets jump in.