Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Can you spare a square?

I've broken myself of the paper towel burden. I've turned off the A/C. I freeze my buns off in the winteer. I've even switched to rack drying my clothing. I use a shampoo bar, haven't taken a single shopping bag in an incredibly long time, I can my own jam, fruit and even pickles. My boys have accepted homemade cookies, granola and the void in the fridge where the juice boxes and gatorades used to thrive. There aren't too many changes left, but one that meets with a whole lot of resistance around here is the dreaded TP.
Toilet paper.

I've tried the Trader Joe's recycled version. It's paper thin, meaning the boys use three times as much and at double the cost it's both bad for the environment and my pocketbook.

Ditto on the Seventh Generation, but at about three times the cost of regular.

I stopped buying the Costco brand because not only is the giant, hulking stack wrapped in plastic, each and every teeny roll is also wrapped in paper. Seemed wasteful, so we are back to regular old TP - whatever is on sale, as bulk sized as possible and yes, wrapped in plastic.

And, as much as I love clean hineys on all of my boys, they seem to use an abundant amount of the stuff. I swear you put a roll on the holder, look back and it's gone. We have had plunger lessons, as the boys can actually clog the toilet with hunks of TP. One boy in particular may quite possibly find a new career direction in the field of plumbing, his skills are quite extraordinary.

How do you get the TP under control? We're certainly not giving it up. I have too many kids to be washing homemade wipes, I can't even keep up with my regular laundry. And, I prefer clean backsides, boxers with skid marks are really not my thing.

Should I give the boys a square limit? What about a different brand that might offer a thicker recycled product? Or hook their toilet seat up to the dogs invisible fence and give them a zap when they've taken too much?

Drowing in empty TP tubes....


Jena said...

I'm not going to be a big help on this one since I just purchased our first package of recycled TP this week. I'm still waiting for the yell of protest the first time my fiance goes to refill the roll and can only find the "scratchy stuff".
I can offer this tidbit tho: in our bathroom we always have 2 rolls of TP out. I use the one on the dispenser and he has one sitting on the shelf above the toilet. The point is that we each have to keep our own refilled so we never leave the other person without. If you have been refilling the dispensers maybe you should make that your kids' job so they see how much they use? Or maybe they need a lesson on folding and refolding!? ;)

Joyce said...

I'm with you-not giving up TP, and don't like the price of the environmentally good stuff. This may be too much info, but when I was little my dad gave us a little lesson and demonstration- you only need five squares, neatly folded, to take care of business. Believe it or not, I still count 'em out. I know it's strange. But, I don't know, maybe that would work. He taught us that after a few plunger "events", and the problem was solved.

Harper said...

Check out this review of a bidet attachment for your toilet
If I didn't rent, I think I'd consider this.

Yes you'd be using more water but it would do the cleaning instead of the tp

lauren said...

Are you trying the 2ply SevenGen? I don't have a problem with it, and I wouldn't categorize it as paper thin. The one-ply is though.

Fake Plastic Fish had a recommendation to "subscribe" to SevenGen via Amazon. They send you a huge box of tp individ. wrapped in paper. They automatically send you a new box according to a schedule you set up. Zero plastic and delivered to my door. If you subscribe, you get a 15% discount too.

Alana said...

We use 7th Generation 2-ply without problems. But in reducing the # of squares, maybe you need to show them efficient methods of using it (just the folding - no wiping). Then, be thankful that they're not girls, so are using less than they could. But I do like the zapping method.

Burbanmom said...

We use the 2-ply 7Gen stuff, via the Amazon subscription. Totally plastic free, recycled tp. Scratchy? yup. But there's no way I'm going the cloth route and this seems the next best thing.

How about a contest? Give them each their own roll to use for a month and whoever can make theirs last the longest wins!

JAM said...

I'll have to try the Amazon thing - I've been getting 7gen from Whole Foods and we found it to be much softer than the Costco stuff we were using, but it doesn't last as long since there just doesn't seem to be nearly as much on a roll. With the Costco stuff, I put the large plastic wrapper in the supermarket bag recycler (not sure if it gets recycled or thrown out but figured it was worth a try) and I shred the paper wrapper on each roll and put it in with my compost. But I stopped buying it because it's bleached and not recycled.

Green Bean said...

You know, I use the 7th gen (2 ply from Amazon thanks to Beth) and haven't had a problem. But my boys are much smaller than yours. I'd say give that a go and ask the boys to fold it (or maybe give a square limit). At least they are beyond the stage of peeing all over the bathroom - I assume. That's the stage we're currently in. It's just lovely. Best of luck!

JAM said...

I feel like I'm missing something here - I went to the link, saw the deal about free shipping and 15% off for subscriptions, but couldn't see how to select that option - I put the TP in my cart and started to check out to see if I'd get that choice, but got to the credit card part and hadn't gotten it. All you subscription orderers - how do I do this?

ruchi aka arduous said...

I like Burbs idea of a contest, though I bet the boys will argue that so-and-so used my roll! No I didn't! Yes you did!!!

Greener Grass Notes, Inc. said...

Guilty. Guilty of being a glutton when it comes to TP. My husband asks how I can use so much? I said, "back off, I'm a girl."

I'm going to look into the recycled TP you all speak of in the comments. Thanks!


greeen sheeep said...

I tried switching to 7Gen and Hubby freaked!! Now we are using Green Forest. It's recycled and chlorine free. It easier on the bum than the 7Gen, but comes wrapped in plastic.

jam - when shopping on amazon, look for the larger quantities. If it is eligible for subscribe & save, the same sidebar that contains the button for add to cart will have a subscribe & save option below it. Instead of clicking add to cart, choose your delivery frequency - 1,2,3 or 6 months and click subscribe now. It will automatically bill and ship to you (free shipping) at the frequency you specified. I use it for a ton of stuff.

organicneedle said...

First let me congratulate you on raising young men who know how to wipe their own asses. I'm sure their future girlfriends and wives are cheering your name right now!

I switched to the Amazon subscription 7th G too. Despite the hubby's initial "discomfort" with the switch, we have all toughened up. Just a word of advice...unless you really fly through the stuff...go for the 6 months. It is a huge box of TP. You can always bump it up if it looks like you are getting low.

eco 'burban mom said...

Jena - You could tie the extra roll of TP to the door knob. They will wouldn't put in on the holder. Seriously. Boys are that bad. Let me know how the recycled TP works out!

Joyce, I will try a 5-square limit. I should probably be counting it out myself!! LOL

Harper - while I understand a bidet, my boys would turn it into a water sprinkler in the bathroom and probably invent some kind of game with it. Sigh.

Lauren - I tried the 7th gen eons ago, I think it was single ply at the time. Maybe I should give it another try?

Alana - I have thought of that, boys do use less. I swear mine make up for it with the #2 though. UGH.

burbs - That's hilarious! You figured it out, make it a game and they will do it!! That is one I can definitly try!

Jam - it sounds like Amazon is the way to go, if I can figure out the ordering...

GB - sorry. Peeing all over everything does not stop with age. One time, I left my PJs on the bathroom floor and by the time I came back to get them - COVERED in pee. I was so mad!!

Arduous - you bet they would argue, and probably steal squares off each other's roll in the middle of the night too. I have the world's most competitive boys!

Greener Grass - I know, being a girl (and living with 5 boys!) means I probably use the bulk of the TP, but I KNOW they use to much when they need to use it!

Greeen Sheep - good luck, let us know how it works out!

Organic Needle - Yes, wiping your own ass is a MUST when you have so many kids. Seriously, I just can't stand it when I have friends come over with 5 year olds that still need their butt wiped. I'm NOT doing it!

Suzee said...

I havn't gone the recycled TP road either. It's just too expensive. We have always used Scott TP. It seems to break up fast and no clogging.

Jennifer said...

The only recycled toliet paper I have found that is worth anything is the Whole Foods brand toliet paper. It's not soft (but not rough), but it's very strong and reasonably thick. I like it better than most normal toliet papers, too.. I'm kind of a snob on TP.