Toilet paper an item deserving re-evaluation

A praise to toilet paper (but also to GPS and to everything properly used)

August 11, 2020

Maybe it is not immediately clear, but this “praise to toilet paper” is a hiking article, and also an environmentalist one.
I am rather slow to adopt technology consequence, until not so long ago I did not have a GPS. Nevertheless, every now and then, it happen to end up in some strange place, or path that did not exist. And then, if I were inside a forest, after a bit of turning around, it happened that I did not knew where I was. Sometimes I adopted this strategy: small pieces of toilet paper (that I will also call since now “cgd” – from the Italian “carta da gabinetto”) hung to some twigs, like the one you see in the first photo. The way was lost ? Let’s follow the cdg.
Cdg then disappears fast, at first rain, and no trace is left. The only problem was that it did not work on windy days. However, cdg serves to many other purposes. I alweays have a roll of it inside my backpack. Here some examples.

A piece of toilet paper, left as a sign, to find the way

– in case you forget paper towels, to clean your hands and cutlery, after your meals
– as and adsorbent, for small wounds
– to clean glass lenses, or the lenses of your camera (but, in this case, you need a type not leaving small fluffs)
– etc. etc.

And finally, there is its main use, that seems to be somewhat forgotten by hikers. Indeed trails are full of absorbing paper, in the best cases, or paper towels or also synthetic napkins soaked with detergents. well, cdg was appositely created to rapidly disaggregate and, therefore, it also decomposes quickly; it is also soft, as stated by advertisement. Towels and napkins, on the contrary, have been thought to resist powerful nose blowing and decompose more slowly; and they are also harder, and much more visible. Not to speak about synthetic napkins, that decompose even more slowly; in case you are really hygienists, and feel the need of deterging also using an impregnated napkin, the sequence is the following: a) use toilet paper to a substantial cleanliness; b) use the impregnated napkin, that will end up almost clean; c) store the used napkin in a plastic bag, and bring it back.

A final note is for the amounts of paper  that is thrown away: if done at home, inside the WC, that would be the best guarantee to frequently call for a plumber.  So, dear hikers, turn back to the use of cdg and, in any case, once done, cover everything; soil, leaves, twigs, stones generally do not lack, so it is only a matter of good will. And bring back all the rest, beyond used cdg, included used napkins.  Otherwise we will soon hike among napkins: in the image, only few example, among the several available.  By the way, to blow our nose, also think about going back to tissue handkerchiefs: you can buy them at local markets and stores, they can be washed, and do not contribute to pollution.

A composition of napkins thrown away; if I photographed all of them, each day I could document hundreds