Bidets are gaining in popularity in many areas of the world and for good reason. One argument made for using a bidet is that this type of fixture will help you conserve water but is this really true? How much water does a bidet use when compared to using toilet paper alone? What about those who use a bidet but then use toilet paper afterward to dry off with?
According to the statistics and facts:
- People typically have a bowel movement at least once every 24 hours.
- People urinate on average 6 times a day.
- The US census shows that there were 323,063,375 individuals in America as of February 25, 2016 at around 10 pm.
- It usually requires between 12 and 37 gallons of water to produce a single roll of toilet paper, depending on roll variables and the manufacturing process used.
- A bidet only requires 1/8 of a gallon of water to clean and flush.
- It takes 5 gallons of water to flush the average American toilet.
- There are roughly 20 million Americans who are between 0 and 4 years old.
- Around 25 million American adults have some form of adult incontinence.
- The average person will flush their toilet 5 times each day.
- Approximately 1-2 rolls of toilet paper will be used per person per week in the USA on average.
- Americans on average use 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper each year.
- 3.7 billion gallons of water each day is used just to manufacture toilet paper for US consumers.
- Only 25-30% of the global population uses toilet paper.
- On average a roll of toilet paper will last the American household 5 days.
- Most individuals use between 6-8 sheets of toilet paper every time they use the bathroom and need to wipe.
- People in the USA typically use around 57 squares of toilet paper each day per person.
- It takes a tree that weighs 1,000 pounds just to make 810 rolls of toilet paper on average.
- A lifetime supply of toilet paper for one person in the USA requires approximately 384 trees to manufacture.
Okay Let's Do the Math
At 1/8 gallon per flush and 323,063,375 Americans flushing once a day this adds up to 40 million gallons of water used. In contrast a toilet requires 5 gallons per flush and this would require 1.6 billion gallons of water for each American to flush once per day.
The one flush per day is a very conservative estimate however, because women tend to flush more frequently and to use toilet paper when they urinate as well as when they have a bowel movement. If a woman flushes 5 times a day this means 25 gallons of water used by a single individual, and 8 billion gallons of water used in a single year by the USA.
If the average person typically uses 1 roll of toilet paper per week this is 52 rolls per year, and some statistics place the true number closer to 100 rolls per year instead. Even if each roll only required 12 gallons of water to produce and we use the conservative 52 roll figure this is still 624 gallons of water used to produce the toilet paper yearly. If each roll requires 37 gallons of water this adds up to almost 2,000 gallons of water just to make toilet paper for one person to use each year. If there was a program for universal bidet use then the USA could save more than 3.6 billion gallons of water each and every day at the very least.
Another way that bidets may use less water than toilets is that people who use a bidet tend to feel cleaner, and they require fewer showers and baths as a result. This also helps to conserve water and waste less of this precious resource.