Cleaning Up the Environment, One Bowel at a Time: The Role of Bidets and Legislation

Cleaning Up the Environment, One Bowel at a Time: The Role of Bidets and Legislation

Cleaning Up the Environment, One Bowel at a Time: The Role of Bidets and Legislation

(I chose this photo of a pony express rider because the word bidet in French is for pony, and is the name of a small horse from France that is now extinct, and it became a nickname that has stuck around for a couple hundred years.  I thought this pony express rider in Old Town Sacramento is the most perfect photo for this blog post) 

This blog post contains a bill idea, as well as a critical look of public policy that sometimes is passed by the California Legislature.

For the record I am all for doing everything we can to stop the negative impacts of climate change and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But sometimes the policies that the California Legislature creates misses the mark and has unintended consequences.

The idea for this blog post comes from my most recent trip to Costco and buying a hot dog and filling up a couple cups of soda.

I have already wrote about how I first became aware of the “straw law” in a Starbucks in Santa Barbara during a road trip after visiting family in the other era we used to call normal known as December 2019 before COVID began.

But this is a recent event. I was filling up two sodas at the soda fountain, (soda fountains used to be brick and mortar businesses before they became a machine in other establishments) and I grabbed two lids that now sort of make me feel like I’m a toddler with a sippy cup because it has the elevated fold back thing like coffee cup so the more environmentally conscious of us can sip from the cup instead of using the compostable straw that is now required.

And two lids failed, it took several lids to get it onto the cup, because the design of the lid has changed. Which has gotten me to google today to figure out how long the old lids I have remembered my entire life were around.

It turns out the lid designs are a fascinating world of engineering from the 1980’s, the first fast food type lids were patented back in the 1930’s, and coffee lids have been around in some form since the 1960’s. But it was in the 1980’s when Americans began going to fast food more often and drive throughs became more popular that lid designs took a massive leap forward in innovation. The old lids that are replaced by the bad ones today had some unique features that went unnoticed until they were gone from my life and replaced because of California’s straw law.

Click the link below to read about it.

The lids for straws before this innovation would break in the middle of the lid and cause tears in the lid resulting in failure, similar to my most recent trip to Costco. This wasted plastic is also an environmental concern but that’s a different topic. It was in the old year of 1992 when this guy created a lid that had reinforcements within the slots of where the straw goes that prevented the entire lid from breaking when kids would stab it with a straw. (One of the more rewarding feelings I remember as a kid that sadly is now also gone due to the redesigns of lids because of California’s straw law.)

As I recall the intended reason for this change was to stop straws from going to the landfill because the plastic does not biodegrade and the sleeves usually are never recycled.

I don’t know if this was a real world major problem that ever needed to be addressed or not, or if it was just a fun change that people decided to give a try at. But either way eventually people will figure out a better design for a lid and straw combination that is more environmentally friendly.

I mention this story here only to illustrate the point that legislation can lead to innovation and change in people's daily habits and routines.  People sometimes just go along with whatever other people are doing, like a change in straws. 

However, I want to address something else that I recently heard on the radio and a recent Amazon purchase I added. The other day I was listening to my hometown radio station KUIC 95.3, even though I am almost 2 hours away from their spot near Brendon Theaters and Marry’s pizza shack in Vacaville I still pick up the station that I used to listen to when I lived in Solano County.

I heard a PSA from Solano County water treatment about the dangers of flushable wipes clogging up the city drains. Now, I don’t know how expensive it is to prepare the damage these things do and I used to always think that baby wipes were more for parents and babies and not adults but apparently adults use them now as a cross between a bidet and toilet paper. Also apparently the flushing of them results in clogs and disgusting messes that cities and government employees at water treatment plants have to clean up and fix. (Eww)

So later that day I was looking at travel videos to Italy on my phone because I am going to Rome, and I saw videos about the Italian usage of the bidet explaining to Americans what it is and how to use it. Which then got me remembering the PSA from KUIC and then my phone magically ended up on Amazon and $25 later and 2 days later I know have a bidet attachment as a daily reminder to keep studying my Italian. Also…. It got me onto googling the environmental impacts of toilet paper and how environmentally more conscious it is to switch to bidets.

Apparently the average American in their lifetime will use the equivalent of 384 trees worth of toilet paper. Which is a mini forest for every individual person, an acre of forest has about 150 trees. So it’s about 2.5-3 acres of forest per American for a lifetime of toilet paper use.

But if you multiply that number by how many Americans there are (300 million) you get an absurd number of something like 100 billion trees being used for toilet paper per century for Americans use of toilet paper. This is the 21st century and the idea of being part of a global system that supports the deforestation of something like 100 billion trees in a century when there is a better invention that’s been around for 3 centuries just doesn’t make sense to me.

There are many reasons why Americans for the most part have not adopted this European way of doing things. One mental illness America has is that we have never reconciled the English racism towards Europeans. The fork for example began being popularized in the 1500’s in France and before that it was used in Italy and the Mediterranean, by the 1700’s it was being used regularly in England. However the fork was seen as a Catholic European thing by the religious puritans who founded the USA and many of them refused the use of the fork for a long time, this was also a sentiment that was found in the protestant land of England. It wasn’t until the Civil War that Americans began using the fork regularly by everyone.

Some of the English persisted in their anti European beliefs into the 20th century, my Dad recalls being in England and Scotland in the early 1970’s and telling English people he was going to do independent study “On the continent”  for a couple months and he was told by English people to “make sure you get your shots” as if Italy and France was going like going deep inside sub saharan Africa where there was no modern technology or clean water.

A little tangent (100% True Story)

There is also an anecdotal not very well researched theory I have about the English Language and the non use of the bidet. Obviously in recent years the English language has become more mentally ill about bathrooms and gender and stuff like that. But I suspect that at some point in history some Catholic French and Italian guys decided to pull some psychological trickery on some unsuspecting Protestant Englishman while in London at some time, and something in the English language got messed up and never fixed, like logic left the English language too much (our English language has never been real logical to begin with but still it has some homework it never turned in or something that’s making pronoun usage a thing)

any way I was in a bathroom stall at a Barnes and Noble once I I overheard a British guy next to me say out loud a lullaby before the distinctive sound of the TP being dispensed… I don’t know what bizarre kind of English tradition or psychology that was but it’s one of those hilarious things you don’t forget that sometimes happen that makes you question everything about life. Or he could have just been super mentally ill with some kind of undiagnosed thing, but it kind of sounded as if that was just part of his routine. My point being, is that the English language is non conducive to the masculine and feminine endings like the Italian, French, and Spanish, English sometimes makes everyone and everything the same, which is also not at all how the English language is. There are more words in the English language then we know what to do with and we forgot so much of what word comes from where or what it means or meant. the English language is so much a melting pot of other languages it would make sense for us to adopt other countries inventions as well. There are enough French and Italian words in our language for us to also adopt a French or Italian way of doing things without making it some kind of English Speaking People being different and destroying forests along the way type of thing.

But what possible ”Protestant?” mental illness is there that would make an English guy say a lullaby before cleaning himself? This is a life mystery that is six years unsolved and never needs to be solved I don’t need an actual answer. These are rhetorical ones.

 Tangent over

The history of the bidet is actually quite simple, it was first invented in France in the 1700’s and was used by the aristocracy it was seen as an elitist thing. However, when internal plumbing became more available to the regular people in the 1800’s the cost of the bidet decreased, and homes began moving the bidet into the bathroom next to the toilet instead of both being in the bedroom. In Italy and France the use continued and continues to this day.

However in the 1700’s and 1800’s the British and some Americans pretty much disliked anything French, including the metric system. Americans were using whatever they could get their hands on for hygiene, sea shells, the farmers almanac, the sears catalog and sometimes just a random piece of cloth laying around. It wasn’t until the 1850’s when an American inventor came up with toilet paper. This invention at first was not well welcomed because it was rough and had splinters. Eventually the processing got refined into the soft product we know today, but it took some time. A hundred years later by the 1950’s we have the two ply version we all know and by the 1970’s it became stronger, softer, and more absorbent. In the early 2000’s companies began marketing flushable wipes as a better alternative, but since most city sewage systems date back more than 20 years and were mostly built to manage toilet paper it can’t quite manage the new marketing scheme being tossed at American consumers.

The British rejected the French invention and adopted the American invention back in the 1850’s. In the 1960’s and 1970’s and 1980’s there was some push by some people in America to make things European and adopt new things. For example there was a failed attempt by some to get Americans off our imperial system of measurement, Cohen of Cohen toilets tried to get Americans on board with the bidet in the 1960’s but that failed, and the Japanese tried in the 1980’s to export their fancy toilets to the USA with little success. Eventually England got into the EU and officially adopted the Metric System of measurement using kilos and kilometers, making the USA the one of the only countries on earth to use the miles, yards, feet, inches, pounds, and ounces, even though Congress has never technically adopted this system as an official system of measurement and it came about mostly by custom and decisions by the US department of treasury, and this is because Thomas Jefferson wanted the metric system and asked a French scientist to come teach the US government about it back in the early 1800’s but his ship and the official kilogram he carried got captured by pirates and he ended up dying in a pirate Caribbean prison because neither France or America paid the ransom.

However, all of that was before the Covid 19 toilet paper shortage which I think everyone agrees was a societal mental illness of some kind that we now all pretend never happened. I for one believe if there a superior invention to something that already exists and is destructive to the environment, then you should just use that better invention and alternative instead.

The stereotypes of the bidet in America is also based in a bad pro patriarchy anti women version of sexist feminist history. Back in the World War I and World War II American soldiers interacted with the bidet mostly in brothels. So when they returned to the USA, them knowing what it was hinted at the fact that they went to a brothel at some point, which carried with it a negative stereotype. So bidets became synonymous with sin, debauchery, sex, and was a “Dirty French” or “Dirty Italian” type of thing or it was for women to use during “that time of the month”. All of this kind of talk reinforces bad stereotypes that we probably should do our best to eliminate in the 21st century. All of these stereotypes and refusal to adopt “modern technology” even though we all have iPhones and the internet is illogical. (The bidet is over 300 years old I’m not sure how modern it is, but its modern to Americans like the fork was 300 years after it began being used in France and Italy. The fork was introduced to Americans in Massachusetts in 1630, but American men viewed the use of the fork as feminine, unmanly and Catholic, it took another couple hundred years and a Civil War for that stereotype to go away)

The logic of the bidet is pretty much as rock solid as it gets. For the American brain this can be quite difficult to realize, but for the 10% of Americans with bidets it makes perfect sense.

The logic is this: Absolutely everything else on earth is cleaned with water. Dishes, counters, floors, clothes, our bodies when we shower and bath, literally there is almost nothing on earth that doesn’t get cleaner or more hygienic and healthier by rinsing it with water. This is obvious and has been obvious to humans since cave man days.

When we go to a restaurant it is expected that we will be served on clean plates and glasses and silverware that were rinsed and washed in water at some point. If the restaurant were to just scrap off the leftovers and wipe it off with a dry paper towel and call it clean, that would violate every single health code in the book and nobody would ever go to that restaurant again because every customer would get sick.

That’s the logic of toilet paper.

The logic of the bidet is to clean ourselves the same way we clean every other part of our body and everything else on earth that needs to get cleaned at some point. With water.

And at the same time you are doing your small part of saving the 100 billion or so trees that will be cut down in the 21st century for toilet paper. When you install a bidet. Which for the environmentally couscous should be a no brainer.

I also wonder if California has missed the boat in some ways on regulating bathrooms and have reenforced negative sex stereotypes with their regulations regarding the gender neutralness of bathrooms in public spaces and government buildings. The bidet is a gender neutral/biological thing that is a better alternative than what currently exists both hygienically and environmentally for the city and the world and reduces green house gasses and helps stop deforestation and has nothing to do with individual sex psychology of orientation or gender identity or gender expression or anything else like that.

I don’t see why the California Legislature also can’t give people the option of using a bidet by encouraging the installation of bidet toilet seats in public government buildings if it is also regulating that there should be tampon dispensers and waste baskets in male restrooms and that restrooms should be gender neutral. The point being is that the California Legislature is in the habit of regulating bathroom stuff and it should just add the bidet to the list because encouraging the use of the bidet will actually do more to stop green house gassing emissions and the deforestation of a 100 billion trees in the 21st century, then regulating straw usage on drinks.

Bidet dot org estimates that if Americans were to switch to the universal use of bidets instead of toilet paper we would save billions of gallons of water each day. They estimate that if every American used a bidet they would use about 40 million gallons of water per day. In comparison the production of toilet paper for a daily use of Americans is 3.7 billion gallons of water.

It takes anywhere between 12 and 37 gallons of water to produce 1 roll of toilet paper. So if you split the difference and estimate a roll of toilet paper needs 25 gallons of water, and multiply that by Costco size of 30 rolls it means every trip to Costco is about 750 gallons of water being consumed during the production of the toilet paper.

A bidet uses 1/8 a gallon of water per use, so about 1 and a quarter gallons of water is used for every 10 trips to the bathroom. So 1.25 (one and a quarter) times 20 equals 25, but each 1.25 is 10 bathroom trips so it would take about 200 trips to the bathroom to consume 25 gallons of water which is the average of a single roll of toilet paper.

But the usage of the bidet in America are not where you would expect. On Google I came across a proctologist office in NYC who conducted a survey of 3,600 Americans asking if they had regular access to a bidet. With all of the environmental benefits already known and internet access pretty much available in all 50 states, I would have guessed Oregon to be high on the list of bidet usage. In fact the number one state with the most use of the bidet is the great state of Alabama at almost 25% of the population with regular access to a bidet. This is one area in which Alabama is leading the nation in trying to save the environment.


Meanwhile apparently in California the only bidets that existed in the state were the fancy Japanese washouts from Toto that were at Google who removed them from their offices in 2022. (That’s a joke, but on google I couldn’t find any statistics about how many Californians have access to a bidet, but I would hope there is at least one environmentalist at UCD or a UCD alumnus who owns one)

I am going to let AI take over the rest of this blog post, there are some good bill ideas at the end to help encourage the use of bidets in California. As it is always said… “California leads the nation, as we go the rest follows.”

But this time we should do our best to catch up and overtake Alabama on this no brainer change. How can we as environmentally conscious Californians with a 15% Asian population and large South American population (Asians and South America also use bidets) let Alabama beat us on this?

Artificial Intelligence and Bidets

A Refreshing Journey Through Time: The History of the Bidet


In today's world, the bidet has become a symbol of modern hygiene and luxury, but its history dates back centuries. This humble fixture has evolved over time to offer a cleaner and more comfortable alternative to traditional toilet paper. Let's take a journey through history to explore the fascinating evolution of the bidet.

Ancient Beginnings

The origins of the bidet can be traced back to France in the late 17th century. The word "bidet" itself is French, meaning "pony" or "small horse." The name reflects the early designs of bidets, which often resembled a low, straddle-shaped basin. However, the concept of cleansing with water has been practiced in various forms in different cultures for centuries.

Early bidets were primarily used by the French nobility and were considered a symbol of sophistication and refinement. They were initially separate fixtures placed in bedrooms, adjacent to the commode.

Bidets in Europe

During the 18th and 19th centuries, bidets gained popularity in European countries, particularly in Italy and Portugal. They were seen as a more effective and comfortable way of maintaining personal hygiene.

The design and functionality of bidets evolved, with some models featuring a water supply and drain, while others were non-plumbed, requiring manual filling. It was also during this time that bidets were incorporated into the bathroom as part of the standard fixtures.

Bidets Around the World

While bidets are often associated with European countries, they have also made their mark in other parts of the world. In Japan, for example, advanced electronic bidet toilets, commonly known as "washlets," have become a technological marvel, offering a range of features, including adjustable water temperature, pressure, and even built-in air dryers.

Modern Advancements

In recent years, bidet technology has continued to advance. Many bidets now include heated seats, remote controls, and customizable cleaning options. These advancements have made bidets a more appealing and hygienic choice for personal care.

Environmental and Health Benefits

As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, bidets have gained popularity for their role in reducing toilet paper consumption. They are often touted as a sustainable alternative, contributing to less paper waste and tree conservation.

Furthermore, bidets are often praised for their potential health benefits, as they provide a thorough and gentle cleansing experience, reducing the risk of skin irritation and promoting better personal hygiene.


The history of the bidet is a testament to the human quest for improved hygiene and comfort. From its humble beginnings in France to its widespread use in various forms worldwide, the bidet has come a long way. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more innovations that will further redefine our notions of personal cleanliness and convenience. So, the next time you encounter a bidet, you'll appreciate not only its modern features but also the centuries of history behind this ingenious invention.

The Environmental Impact of Toilet Paper and the Hidden Dangers of Flushable Wipes


Toilet paper is an everyday essential that we often take for granted. However, its production and consumption have significant environmental consequences. Additionally, the use of flushable wipes, despite their convenience, poses a hidden threat to city sewage systems. In this blog post, we'll explore the environmental impact of toilet paper and the dangers of flushable wipes on our infrastructure.

The Environmental Cost of Toilet Paper

Deforestation: The primary raw material for toilet paper is wood pulp, which often comes from virgin forests. The demand for soft and fluffy toilet paper has contributed to deforestation, endangering ecosystems and biodiversity.

Energy and Water Use: The manufacturing process of toilet paper requires substantial energy and water. The pulping, drying, and bleaching processes consume vast resources, leading to higher carbon emissions and water pollution.

Chemicals and Toxins: Bleaching agents used in toilet paper production can release harmful chemicals into the environment, posing a threat to aquatic life and water quality.

Carbon Footprint: The transportation and distribution of toilet paper products add to their carbon footprint. Long supply chains and packaging materials contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Non-recyclable Packaging: Many toilet paper packages are not recyclable, further exacerbating the waste problem.

The Dangers of Flushable Wipes

Misleading Labeling: "Flushable" wipes are a common misnomer. While they may be flushable, they do not disintegrate like toilet paper. Instead, they can clog pipes and cause costly blockages in sewage systems.

Infrastructure Damage: In city sewage systems, flushable wipes can accumulate and combine with fats, oils, and grease to create "fatbergs." These massive blockages can damage pipes, pumps, and treatment facilities, leading to expensive repairs.

Environmental Impact: When sewage systems become overwhelmed by blockages, untreated wastewater can be discharged into water bodies, harming aquatic ecosystems and contaminating water sources.

Inefficiency in Treatment Plants: Flushable wipes that make it to treatment plants can be challenging to process. They need to be manually removed, increasing labor costs and potentially affecting the efficiency of the treatment process.

A Sustainable Approach

Choose Recycled Toilet Paper: Opt for toilet paper made from recycled materials to reduce the demand for virgin wood pulp and limit deforestation.

Minimize Consumption: Use toilet paper mindfully to reduce waste. Consider installing bidets or bidet attachments for a more eco-friendly alternative.

Proper Disposal: Never flush wipes, even if labeled as "flushable." Dispose of them in the trash to avoid clogging sewage systems.

Advocate for Change: Support and advocate for regulations that require accurate labeling of "flushable" wipes and promote sustainable toilet paper production.


While toilet paper is an essential product in our daily lives, its environmental impact cannot be ignored. The production of toilet paper contributes to deforestation, energy consumption, and pollution. Furthermore, the deceptive labeling of flushable wipes and their harmful effects on sewage systems and the environment pose a significant problem. To mitigate these issues, it's essential for individuals to make sustainable choices in toilet paper consumption and disposal and to support policies that address these environmental concerns.

10 Bill Ideas from A.I to help improve Bidet Usage and reduce TP consumption.

  1. Tax Incentives for Bidet Installation:

Provide tax incentives or rebates for homeowners and businesses that install bidets, making them more accessible and affordable.

  1. Mandatory Bidet Integration in New Construction:

Require new residential and commercial construction to include bidets in the design, ensuring that bidets become a standard feature in modern buildings.

  1. Environmental Labeling on Toilet Paper:

Mandate clear and informative environmental labeling on toilet paper packaging to raise consumer awareness of the product's ecological footprint.

  1. Toilet Paper Recycling Initiatives:

Implement recycling programs for toilet paper rolls and packaging materials to reduce waste and promote responsible disposal.

  1. Educational Campaigns:

Launch public awareness campaigns to educate citizens about the environmental benefits of bidets and the drawbacks of excessive toilet paper use.

  1. Government Procurement:

Encourage government institutions to purchase bidet-equipped toilets for public facilities and promote their use in government buildings.

  1. Toilet Paper Consumption Limits:

Consider legislation that restricts the amount of toilet paper an individual can purchase or use in a given period, encouraging moderation.

  1. Research and Development Grants:

Provide grants to research institutions and manufacturers to support the development of more sustainable and cost-effective bidet technologies.

  1. Industry Regulations:

Implement industry-specific regulations for toilet paper manufacturers, such as setting limits on the use of virgin pulp and promoting the use of recycled materials.

  1. Public Restroom Upgrade Initiatives:

Fund upgrades to public restrooms in parks, transportation hubs, and government buildings to include bidets, making them readily available to the public.

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