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The End of the World As We Know It
November 17, 2010 6:04 AM   Subscribe

Change is coming. Get ready for tubeless toilet paper. Say good bye to craft projects. Some environmentalists say this is not the answer.
posted by Xurando (65 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wiping your ass is totally unnecessary. TP is an invention of the paper industry. Do not be fooled by their lies. Just poop and go. After a week or so your natural systems will take over and your streaky undies will be a distant memory. Try it. It could work. Mr Charmen figured it out and they had him killed.
posted by humanfont at 6:14 AM on November 17, 2010 [12 favorites]


Once they take out the tube, I'll bet they charge more for this "innovation".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:14 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


And you'll pay it Blazecock, you'll pay it for the environment!
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 6:21 AM on November 17, 2010


Environmentalism is the ghetto of science:

"First is the amount of water used in the flush, and then there is the embedded water use in a roll of TP (roughly 37 gallons per roll); this is ancillary byproducts of toilet paper production: chlorine to bleach the paper, the trees used to produce the paper, or the energy spent recycling the paper, packaging, distribution, etc."

Well, if we're going to factor in "embedded water use" and ancillary products, how many gallons of water does it take to manufacture a bidet? How many barrels of oil does it take to make the plastic and the paint? How many additional gallons of cleansers and chemicals are going to get flushed down the toilet because people now have to clean the bidet in addition to the toilet?

"Now, for US readers at least--millions and millions of Asians prefer washing over wiping, the bidet certainly enjoys a sizable European following--washing your nether region instead of wiping it takes some getting used to. But let me tell, from my personal experience, washing wins hands down on a hygiene level. "

Americans have a reputation of being fat, loud, and lazy. They do not have a reputation for being dirty, and most Americans will not model their personal hygiene habits after Europeans or Asians. Sorry if you think that's racist or whatever, but when making pronouncements like this, its best to take things as they are and not as you think they should be.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:22 AM on November 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm still holding out for three seashells.
posted by substrate at 6:22 AM on November 17, 2010 [24 favorites]


Wiping your ass is totally unnecessary.

Well, there is something to be said for the practice of using just soap and water to wash it clean after every drop. It's certainly more sanitary, if done right. On the other hand, it's an involved and messy process. But more to the point: I thought tubeless toilet paper already existed. It's what I see loaded up in public restrooms around here, anyway.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:24 AM on November 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oddly, the "environmentalist" response reminds me of the "no 'poo" movement (so to speak). Jesus H, we're a culture beset with idiotic fixations.

My question would be: If I go off-the-grid, save water, and use a humanure composting toilet, how am I also supposed to have an old school water blasting bidet, too? I suspect corn cobs would be the answer, if only corn cobs didn't come from high fructose corn syrup farming OMG!!!

You can't win.
posted by sonascope at 6:24 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Key paragraph
Let's face it, despite popular green rhetoric to the contrary, the answer to the majority of our current socio-ecological problems aren't tweaks of the current system, aren't switching from product A to product B. The answers rest in changing that system itself and changing ourselves as well. Which obviously can't happen over night; it is a transition. But that transition can't start unless we ask the right questions, which sometimes includes addressing very personal, intimate questions and biases.
I'd say the biggest challenge is that nobody thinks that one person can do much. Both the environmentalists ("we need mass action") and anti-environmentalists ("what does it really matter if I buy an SUV?") agree on that. And we have that problem because it's true. If one person more or less uses toilet paper, there's negligible impact on a percentage basis. The real, basic problem we have is too many people.
posted by DU at 6:24 AM on November 17, 2010 [11 favorites]


I use a baby seal.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:24 AM on November 17, 2010 [19 favorites]


I have one of these babies in my house, and when I'm on the road, I essentially use a low-tech version of the same concept. In more developed parts of Asia, I use the awesome "bum gun", and in lesser developed areas, I tend to use the scoop and pour method. Central Africa has a lot less options and I have to carry around an extra 2 litre water bottle to use in a similar fashion as the scooper.

It's actually quite difficult to get used to toilet paper again after I've been away for a while. Somehow, it's just not as hygienic.
posted by gman at 6:25 AM on November 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Seattlites buy bulk Asian import TP down south at the DK Market. The cardboard in that stuff is *way thick.* You can almost stand on it without crushing. Use it for huge diy firecrackers? Rocket engines?
posted by billb at 6:31 AM on November 17, 2010


Oddly, the "environmentalist" response reminds me of the "no 'poo" movement (so to speak).

The bidet is common in Japan, though... it's one of those buttons you see on the crazy Japanese toilets. It's not a tool you have to be a slovenly dirty hippie to appreciate.
posted by shii at 6:35 AM on November 17, 2010


Once they take out the tube, I'll bet they charge more for this "innovation".
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:14 AM on November 17


I'm always amazed how little people understand economics and marketing. First, it probably cost the company a non-trivial amount of money to figure out how to manufacture no-tube toilet paper, and then it probably cost them a huge sum of money to refit factories with new machines to actually produce it in mass quantity. So it's not only possible but very likely that the cost of one roll of no-tube toilet paper is higher than the cost of one roll of regular toilet paper minus the cost of the tube.

Second, no two brands of regular toilet paper cost the same amount. Do you think it they spent untold millions to convince you that Charmin was "squeezably soft" if consumers actually treated different brands of toilet paper as interchangeable identical commodities to be compared only on price? Our relationships to produces are mediated by advertising - consumers do not buy products based on utility, they buy them based on the position of the product's identity and its relationship to their perceived identity and their desired, idealized, identity.

With that in mind, realize that you are getting something additional with no-tube toilet paper - the satisfaction that you are generating less trash and being more environmentally friendly. No-tube toilet paper is defined by the presence of an absence - this roll has no tube. You are getting something extra: the lack of a tube. Surely that has value, and there's no reason why they shouldn't be compensated for providing that additional value to you.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:37 AM on November 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Flashback to 1979.

Toilet paper tube - check

Aluminum foil - check

Now all we need is a pin....
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 6:41 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hope I never have to sit next to Mr. "Don't wipe your ass" on the train or bus.
posted by mermayd at 6:41 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here in Tokyo, at my local Co-op grocery store (it's not really a co-op, that's just the name...) I've been buying tubeless toilet paper for at least a couple of years now.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:47 AM on November 17, 2010


But, to conclude, I say and maintain, that of all torcheculs, arsewisps, bumfodders, tail-napkins, bunghole cleansers, and wipe-breeches, there is none in the world comparable to the neck of a goose, that is well downed, if you hold her head betwixt your legs. And believe me therein upon mine honour, for you will thereby feel in your nockhole a most wonderful pleasure, both in regard of the softness of the said down and of the temporate heat of the goose, which is easily communicated to the bum-gut and the rest of the inwards, in so far as to come even to the regions of the heart and brains. And think not that the felicity of the heroes and demigods in the Elysian fields consisteth either in their asphodel, ambrosia, or nectar, as our old women here used to say; but in this, according to my judgment, that they wipe their tails with the neck of a goose, holding her head betwixt their legs, and such is the opinion of Master John of Scotland, alias Scotus.
posted by Segundus at 6:47 AM on November 17, 2010 [14 favorites]


Just poop and go. After a week or so your natural systems will take over and your streaky undies will be a distant memory. Try it. It could work.

What "natural systems" are you referring to, exactly?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:53 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


First, it probably cost the company a non-trivial amount of money to figure out how to manufacture no-tube toilet paper, and then it probably cost them a huge sum of money to refit factories with new machines to actually produce it in mass quantity. So it's not only possible but very likely that the cost of one roll of no-tube toilet paper is higher than the cost of one roll of regular toilet paper minus the cost of the tube.

New versions of products are produced all the time and they rarely cost more at the point of purchase even when they some backend capital investment, because those costs are absorbed elsewhere. Presumably Charmin or whoever has an R&D department that is already being funded, right? If they hadn't produced this higher priced (if it is) tubeless design, would the R&D department had no funding? Similarly, you can pay for factory retooling by using future profits *without* a price change--it just takes longer and/or you save less in the bank (or pay the CEO less).

The only real reason to charge more (and I have no idea if they plan to) is the novelty factor and/greed.
posted by DU at 6:53 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


My first thought when hearing this was about the impact on kids' craft projects. I fully expect some enterprising soul to buy up the remaining stock and sell blister packs of cardboard tubes as "Kraft Tubes."
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:55 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think there is a Mr. Charmin. I think you are thinking of George Whipple.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:58 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


With that in mind, realize that you are getting something additional with no-tube toilet paper - the satisfaction that you are generating less trash and being more environmentally friendly.

My cynicism about price increases is less about the price increase itself than the actual benefit it should provide:

From what I can tell, the tubeless toilet paper itself is not made from recycled paper, although the cardboard tube likely is, so the environmental benefit seems mitigated by the actual product itself, if that's the goal.

Secondly, my brother played a season of junior hockey up near Thunder Bay, Ontario. They have lots of paper mills up there, apparently, and while living with his guest family he noticed that the air often smelled like chlorine and that people in the neighborhood would often be sick.

So I wonder if the bleaching that is done to (non-recycled) toilet paper is a much greater environmental hazard than using recycled, unbleached paperboard for toilet paper rolls.

From appearances, it looks like a way for the company to, in fact, cut production costs while raising prices, all while marketing it as beneficial to the environment, when the real technical problem seems to be the bleached, non-recycled pulp that makes the toilet paper.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:00 AM on November 17, 2010


I understand that this would be new for the average consumer, but they've been making tubeless rolls for public washrooms for a long time now. I'm unimpressed.

Am I the only one who has had the lowly job of maintaining a public stall?
posted by sunshinesky at 7:05 AM on November 17, 2010


Americans have a reputation of being fat, loud, and lazy. They do not have a reputation for being dirty, and most Americans will not model their personal hygiene habits after Europeans or Asians. Sorry if you think that's racist or whatever, but when making pronouncements like this, its best to take things as they are and not as you think they should be.
So let me see if I understand what you're saying: It's unscientific to use use personal experience, instead to be scientific we should use crude racial stereotypes? WTF? A bedeit or washlet only needs to be purchased once, amortized over the lifetime of the product I'm sure the water/energy use is pretty low. But each roll of TP means another 37 gallons of water in processing cost.
posted by delmoi at 7:07 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


From what I can tell, the tubeless toilet paper itself is not made from recycled paper, although the cardboard tube likely is, so the environmental benefit seems mitigated by the actual product itself, if that's the goal.

There are many toilet paper brands available that are made from recycled paper and you can't really tell the difference by appearance.
posted by orme at 7:08 AM on November 17, 2010


washing wins hands down

Sure. But hands up it's a different story.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 7:09 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


How much of the adult bum-wiping market is held by wet wipes?
posted by pracowity at 7:13 AM on November 17, 2010


From what I can tell, the tubeless toilet paper itself is not made from recycled paper, although the cardboard tube likely is, so the environmental benefit seems mitigated by the actual product itself, if that's the goal.

There are many toilet paper brands available that are made from recycled paper and you can't really tell the difference by appearance.
posted by orme at 10:08 AM


Actually I realize you are probably talking about the Scott brand toilet paper. The Scott "Naturals" that will feature the tubeless technology is supposedly 40% recycled fiber.
posted by orme at 7:20 AM on November 17, 2010


What "natural systems" are you referring to, exactly?

Thems is jokes, people.
posted by electroboy at 7:24 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bidet? Oh.... I thought it was a fountain.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:51 AM on November 17, 2010


If they take the tubes out, what will my hamster do for fun?
posted by pecanpies at 7:53 AM on November 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm glad sonascope mentioned the composting toilet - I remember reading about it in the Utne Reader years ago. I love the idea, but it scares the crap out of hubs!
posted by Calzephyr at 7:54 AM on November 17, 2010


If they take the tubes out, what will my hamster do for fun?

He doesn't need the tube to get up there, does he?
posted by pracowity at 7:57 AM on November 17, 2010 [10 favorites]


I love the idea, but it scares the crap out of hubs!

Sounds like it's working as intended.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:17 AM on November 17, 2010


When combined with the near paperless tubes they have been selling since the economic meltdown I will soon be buying air to wipe my ass with. I plan to save money by getting the generic air rather than the quilted three ply.
posted by srboisvert at 8:19 AM on November 17, 2010


One of the many ways Kevin Smith has changed my life for the better was introducing me* to the pleasures of Cottonelle Moist Wipes. As God is my witness, I'll never use dry toilet paper again!

*On his podcast, not in person.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:20 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thems is jokes, people.

After the whole 'sitting vs. standing' debacle, I can never be sure WHAT you savages are doing in there.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:28 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


[Americans] will not model their personal hygiene habits after Europeans or Asians.

If more Americans visited to the Toto showroom in Tokyo, this would change.
posted by snofoam at 8:31 AM on November 17, 2010


I'm glad sonascope mentioned the composting toilet

I'm in that rare category of folks in that I actually have a dream toilet, the Sunmar Excel NE composter, but because it's essentially the Tesla Roadster of fancy toilets, I gave in and built myself a nice little Humanure jobbie, which is actually quite nice.

That said, the older I get, the more I like the idea of having a bathroom that's not even in the house, so I'm planning out my dream outhouse (for the record, this is for my little place in West Virginia, and not where I live day-to-day, so my commitment is modest), which will be finely-crafted, heated and well-ventilated, and a lovely place to read a book. My current outhouse is about to fall down and has a bit of a problem with two-inch spiders that hang around under the toilet seat and love to dart out onto the new landscape of your ass without notice.

If you're used to it, you just sort of try to relax and hope they'll get bored and leave, because they're essentially non-biters and harmless, but if you're not, you tend to leap up, screaming, and slam your head into the too-low ceiling before falling out of the outhouse with your pants tangled around your ankles and then rolling down the hillside in a pretty undignified manner. Mind you, if it's happening to someone else, it's pretty damned funny.
posted by sonascope at 8:34 AM on November 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


TP rolls are my parrot's favorite toy... I stuff 'em, she shreds 'em. None go to waste in our house.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:52 AM on November 17, 2010


People tell me I'm full of shit, but the truly environmental solution is to just hold it in.
posted by adamrice at 9:13 AM on November 17, 2010


I propose a liquid diet from now on.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:14 AM on November 17, 2010


This is just totally unacceptable! What are the hedgehogs supposed to wear?!
posted by quin at 9:20 AM on November 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


Given the state of plumbing in most of the houses I've look at, a bidet is another very good place for cross-contamination of your fresh water supply if installed incorrectly. At least a poorly installed washtub in the basement will only suck grey water into your water supply...

I shudder to think what will happen if bidets become standard installs in NA.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:35 AM on November 17, 2010


Awww. I still miss our white trash toilet paper roll angel on top of the Christmas tree with her pipe cleaner halo.
posted by benzenedream at 9:35 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm waiting for the three shells.
posted by condour75 at 9:46 AM on November 17, 2010


I stopped using the toilet in 1984. I remember my last time fondly- I believe "Karma Chameleon" was playing on the radio. I now emit a pleasant, lemony scent exactly three times a day. Thank you, Sirius Cybernetics Corporation!
posted by mintcake! at 9:54 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


off subject, but: There is a brand of recycled coffee filters at may grocery called "if you care." I've for a long time wanted to track down the owner of this company and punch him in the face...
posted by elwoodwiles at 9:57 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seconding the Cottonelle action. Baby wipes for adults! Don't know if it's eco-friendly or anything, but you sure do use a lot less paper.
posted by fungible at 9:58 AM on November 17, 2010


company cuts out something (tube) and says YOU are now nice to environment.company cuts out tube to cut their costs and will charge same amount for tubeless. I note that bottled water now has cap that is smaller and that too they tell you is their making sure that plastic bottles are good for the environment--and that too saves them money.. Now I know that many products keep a price but cut a bit of what is inside the container...to make greater profits. The latest I have seen: pasta. Always used to be a box with one pound, no matter the brand/company. Not so any more. Some contain less that a pound....
Remember: an alert shopper is still a shopper who is going to get fucked.
posted by Postroad at 10:00 AM on November 17, 2010


They've had tubeless toilet paper for ages at this Vietnamese five-and-dime in East Vancouver. It's called "Saigon No-Core", I shit you not.
posted by Beardman at 10:07 AM on November 17, 2010


Get ready for tubeless toilet paper.

It's about time. Wasn't the first commercial tubeless radio made in like 1959?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 10:20 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Moist wipes are bad for septic systems, they tend to bunch up and clog things up according to the folks that empty my system out periodically. Not something I knew before I had a baby to wash up after.
posted by inthe80s at 10:37 AM on November 17, 2010


I was in a Saigon no-core band back in the early 90s.
posted by electroboy at 10:43 AM on November 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


I spoke to a friend who lived in India for a year without toilet paper. I said, "People on metafilter say that washing your ass is more hygienic than toilet paper and you don't get poo on your hands."

His answer was, and I quote, "Bullshit." I asked how he dealt with poo-hands. "You keep your fingernails short and you take soap with you everywhere you go."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:51 AM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Moist wipes are bad for septic systems, they tend to bunch up and clog things up according to the folks that empty my system out periodically.

Regular baby wipes (or hand wipes) are bad for plumbing in general, for specifically this reason (they don't break down very easily)... But they make toilet-friendly wipes for toilet training toddlers - I haven't seen any marketed to adults here in my neighbourhood outside Toronto - that are AWESOME. The only thing is you have to remember to close the package tightly when you're done. Nothing sadder than going to get a moist wipe and finding them all dried out.
posted by antifuse at 11:12 AM on November 17, 2010


Also, please don't flush the wipes down the toilet. As an engineer that design sanitary sewer systems, I'm begging you. Toilet paper essentially disintegrates once it's flushed, but the wipes stay intact and gum up the works. It's pretty much guaranteed that if a small pump station fails, it's because the grinders are packed solid with wipes.

And please stop pouring your grease down the drain.
posted by electroboy at 11:15 AM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


In a sane world, this would be the swirling vortex of shit down which solipsistic lifestyle environmentalism finally flushes itself in a flurry of soiled bidet sales pamphlets.

I mean, I respect the hell out of Treehugger and find it a very useful research resource, but surely as you get into the third graf of your blog post on the eco-merits of bidets vs. toilet paper it might occur to you that trying to change people's post-defecation rituals, ingrained since early childhood and deeply intwined with notions of cleanliness and civility and whatever of Freud's fixation theories are still considered vaild - that such an enterprise is a colossal waste of time and an issue so small compared to the scope of the climate/energy/resource crisis that it actually kind of insults trivial issues by its very discussion.

There are goals. Use less resources, use them more wisely, end fossil fuel dependence, make sustainability ubiquitous and unconscious. Trying to talk people out of wiping their asses with toilet paper using embedded energy stats is not a goal. It's a means. A shitty one.

Honestly.
posted by gompa at 11:24 AM on November 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


When I lived in Japan my apartment didn't have a supertoilet, so I used TP. But, for three weeks I did have access to a supertoilet, and **DAMN** you'll never want to go back once you try it.

I'm currently saving my pennies to buy one here.
posted by sotonohito at 11:27 AM on November 17, 2010


Flashback to 1979.

Toilet paper tube - check

Aluminum foil - check

Now all we need is a pin....


Well, that and weed. You're so high you forgot the weed.
posted by NoMich at 12:00 PM on November 17, 2010


Baby_Balrog, I've heard the same thing from friends that traveled in India. In fact, it's apparently inappropriate to even use your left hand while eating because it's considered unclean for this reason.
posted by crosbyh at 12:04 PM on November 17, 2010


That "waddle dance" "article" was so annoying - "men are annoying amirite?!?" Blah. I like the idea of the tubeless rolls, but what will gerbils make their nests with!??
posted by agregoli at 2:58 PM on November 17, 2010


Everybody's got it backwards. I simply spray my bottom with non-stick cooking spray before I go. That way nothing sticks and I don't need to wipe.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:44 PM on November 17, 2010


And everyone loves the buttery aroma.
posted by benzenedream at 4:57 PM on November 17, 2010


Just think: with all these extra tubes, we can increase the size and power of the internet by 1000 fold!
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:28 PM on November 17, 2010


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