How far would you go to save the environment?


While many try to reduce reliance on single-use plastics and attempt to recycle, one woman left people dumbfounded after revealing what she claimed is reusable toilet paper.

A team member from Net Zero Company — which reportedly makes “Earth-friendly products for everyday life” — acknowledged that the item is controversial but insisted that it’s worth it.

“After the global toilet paper shortage of 2020, we came out with our reusable version,” she explained in a TikTok clip.

“And to the 56,000 comments in disapproval of it, it’s meant to wipe water off — you know, like drying off after a shower,” she added.

According to the woman in the clip, those who have made the bold move from toilet tissue to organic cotton “have loved” the change, noting that it’s “way softer” than supermarket toilet paper.The woman admitted it's the company's 'most controversial product.'The woman admitted it’s the company’s “most controversial product.” Tiktok / netzerocompany

However, she did note that the reusable stuff is best paired with a bidet, with which one can seemingly rinse off the cloth. She then suggested collecting all the used “paper” and putting it in a bag to launder and then reuse.

Noting that “27,000 trees are cut down daily to make toilet paper,” the reusable TP enthusiast is a big fan — but not everyone agrees.

“Sorry no I am all about saving the earth this is too far,” one user wrote.

“I’m all for the reusable items but toilet paper is to [sic] far,” agreed another, while one naysayer crassly pondered, “Imagine you have guests and theirs [sic] skid marks on the previously used ones on the roll.”

One commenter also suggested a potential negative impact of the process: “All the extra washing .. is that good for the environment?”

The Proper Way to Hang a Roll of Toilet Paper

Regardless of your stance on the matter, you probably think it’s absurd that the “over or under” toilet paper roll debate ever existed in the first place. (Because obviously over is the right answer.)

Still, the question of the proper way to orient the roll on the hanger persisted. Arguments raged, relationships were forever shattered, and someone even made a Wikipedia entry dedicated to the subject. Times were hard.

Then, in 2015, tech writer Owen Williams came across the 1891 patent for perforated toilet paper with drawings clearly indicating the intended orientation from the inventor himself, Seth Wheeler.  

According to Business Insider, toilet paper was originally patented by Wheeler’s own Albany Perforated Wrapping Paper Company in 1871, but the 1891 version was a new and improved model intended to cut back on toilet paper waste.

There may be a scientific argument for “over” rather than “under”—because, Geoffrey James theorized at Inc. in 2017, the “under” orientation could increase the spread of bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

“The moment when a restroom user’s hands are most likely to carry bacteria is when they reach for toilet paper,” James suggested. “If the toilet paper is hung ‘over’ their fingers only touch the toilet paper that they’ll be using, which will subsequently be flushed. However, if the toilet paper is hung ‘under’ there’s a good chance their fingers will brush the wall as well, leaving a deposit. If so, every subsequent restroom user who reaches for toilet paper runs the risk of not only of picking up the bacteria that’s been deposited already, but also leaving more for the next user to pick up.”

And so a verdict from deep in the past proves to be the final word on this hot button issue. So it is drawn, so shall it be hung. 

Now that you know which way to hang your toilet paper, brush up on some slang for the stuff—and don’t forget to read up on some facts about toilets and some historically significant loos while you’re at it.

A version of this story ran in 2015; it has been updated for 2023.

Keep Track Of Toilet Paper Usage With This IoT Roll Holder

Remember the Great Toilet Paper Crisis of 2020? We sure do, and it looks like our old friend [Vije Miller] does as well, while seemingly harboring a somewhat morbid fascination about how much paper every bathroom visitor is consuming. And to that end, we present his IoT toilet sheet tracker.

His 3D-printed roll holder has a Hall effect sensor that counts revolutions of the roll and sends it to a NodeMCU. The number of sheets per roll is entered when the roll is changed, so some simple math yields the number of sheets each yank consumes. Or at least a decent estimate — [Vije] admits that there’s some rounding necessary. The best part of the build is Baby’s Only Organic Premium Dairy Infant Formula (31.75 oz.) connection to Thingspeak, where sheet usage is plotted and displayed. Go ahead and check it out if you dare; at the time of writing, there was an alarming spike in sheet usage — a sudden need for 68 sheets where the baseline usage is in single digits. We shudder to think what might have precipitated that. The video below is — well, let’s just say there’s a video.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen bathroom-based 45 rolls toilet paper from [Vije Miller]. A few years back there was an attempt to freshen the air with plasma, and his IoT shower valve controller probably never scalded anyone accidentally.


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