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Almost 2m trees cut down daily to meet global toilet paper demand

New research gauges the number of rolls required each day to keep the world wiping, highlighting an often overlooked contributor to deforestation. 

Eco-friendly toilet paper company Who Gives A Crap is behind a new study that shows the environmental impact of toilet roll. 

Assuming that half the world’s ‘wipers’ use traditional toilet paper, it is estimated currently around 1m trees would need to be felled every 24 hours to meet demand. However, it is also believed this may drastically underplay the situation, and in order to keep everyone on the planet in toilet paper, 1.9m trees need to be cut down daily – enough to fill Wembley Stadium 50 times over. 

The study, entitled ‘Environmental Impacts of Traditional Toilet Paper Usage’, focuses on the true cost of this to the planet’s forests as a result of virgin paper use. Annually, around 42m tonnes of toilet paper gets used in the UK alone. Individually, the average person uses 127 rolls each year, equating to around 735m square meters of forest. At this scale, 180bn kilograms of carbon monoxide will remain in the atmosphere because of the lost trees. Tellingly, the work also found that around two in three respondents did not understand their choice of toilet paper contributes to deforestation

‘We’re flushing one of our most precious resources down the toilet,’ said Simon Griffiths, CEO and co-founder of Who Gives A Crap. ‘Even some of the most dedicated eco-warriors massively underestimate the impact traditional toilet paper production has on our forests and beyond… These statistics are pretty depressing but we all have the power to change them. We want to empower the consumer to make ethical choices about how they spend their money, and the future it is contributing to.’

In related news, scientists now believe they have perfected an algorithm that reveals how much drought and heat is needed to kill off forests. 

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