Is Charmin toilet paper biodegradable

Toilet paper: Toilet paper alternatives: Can damp toilet paper be used in the toilet?

Toilet paper is experiencing a real boom in times of the corona crisis. Through hamster purchases, sales have increased nationwide. Where usually rows of welded-in rolls are stacked, there is at times a yawning emptiness in some supermarkets and drugstores. Consumers therefore also resort to supposed alternatives such as handkerchiefs, kitchen rolls, cosmetic tissues or damp toilet paper. But what of it can actually be flushed down after using the toilet?

What are the alternatives to ordinary toilet paper?

Toilet paper has become an indispensable part of everyday life for many, although its history in this country is relatively young: The toilet roll began its triumphal march in Germany in 1928 with a product by the Swabian entrepreneur Hans Klenk, namesake of the Hakle brand. In 1977, after developing the world's first three-ply toilet paper, the company revolutionized hygiene standards once again when it brought moist toilet paper onto the market with "Hakle Feucht".

The hygiene articles are currently more in demand than ever. But what alternatives do consumers have if ordinary toilet paper is not available through hamster purchases? When it comes to urban drainage, people refer to bidets, which so far have only been found in a few German bathrooms. A bidet makes it possible to clean the intimate area with a jet of water while sitting and is increasingly found in southern European countries. The so-called popodusche for cleaning the genitals after using the toilet works in a similar way.

If you haven't installed a bidet in the bathroom, you might want to use paper towels or handkerchiefs. But this is not ideal, because the general rule is: Tear-resistant paper should not be disposed of in the toilet. Normal toilet paper is not a problem because it can be shredded and dissolved relatively easily, according to the Augsburg sewage works. However, if possible, tissues, newspaper or kitchen roll paper should not be disposed of in the toilet.

A brief cultural history of toilet paper
  • A wide variety of materials, such as rags, leaves or other natural products, have been used for centuries to cleanse yourself after relieving yourself.

  • The ancient Romans kept a sponge on a stick next to the toilet. According to tradition, this was cleaned with salt water.

  • After the introduction of paper, old newspaper scraps were used in many places.

  • In other cultures, external aids are not used. In part of the Islamic world, for example, the left hand is still used today for cleaning. Therefore, only the right hand is used to eat and socialize.

  • According to research, the first toilet paper was developed by the Chinese. Toilet paper was produced for the Chinese emperor as early as 1391.

  • The invention finally came west in the course of the 19th century. In 1857 the American Joseph Gayetty brought the first toilet paper onto the American market - under the somewhat shy name of "therapeutic paper".

  • 22 years later, in 1879, the Briton Walter Alcock brought the toilet paper into the shape it is known today and sold it in handy rolls.

  • The first manufacturer of toilet paper in Germany was Hans Klenk. He opened the first toilet paper factory in Ludwigsburg in 1928 and made a name for himself on paper - the "Hakle" brand (for "HAns KLEnk") was born.

  • Germans were used to rough crepe paper for 30 years until Hakle launched the first soft tissue paper in 1958. In 1972 there was even a small revolution: the German company developed the world's first three-ply toilet paper.

  • Today, toilet paper is a high-tech product: engineers and chemists work in the companies to perfect the thickness, tear resistance and absorbency of the paper.

In the sewage treatment plant, the solids are separated from the wastewater, but with wastewater treatment the water cannot simply be "conjured clean" again, according to the Augsburg wastewater treatment plant. A rake removes most of the solids from the water in the sewage treatment plant. The leaves of the kitchen roll, for example, dissolve more poorly than conventional toilet paper and can get stuck in the tines of the rake.

The fished out paper ends up in a landfill and is then burned. Thus it makes the detour from the consumer via the sewage treatment plant to the landfill. "That is the standard to which we have got used," says the Augsburg sewage treatment plant. Throw used toilet paper in the rubbish bin - what may seem absurd to Germans is standard in other countries. For example, Beijing's public toilets have only had toilet paper since 2007. In Spain or Greece, too, there is often a notice attached to toilets that the used toilet paper should be disposed of in the rubbish bin next to it.

Augsburg sewage treatment plant warns: Do not put damp toilet paper in the toilet

Moist toilet paper is a much bigger problem for sewage treatment plants than newspaper, handkerchiefs and the like. Many manufacturers advertise water-soluble or biodegradable products. Nevertheless, regardless of the Corona crisis, consumers should never throw damp toilet paper into the toilet, according to the Augsburg sewage works. "We have to laboriously fish out the tear-resistant paper again," said a spokesman for the municipal sewage treatment plant. Because even if the devices in the sewage treatment plant have to be serviced and cleaned anyway, the manual removal of the tear-resistant fibers from wet wipes from the rake tines means additional work for the employees.

Feminine hygiene articles also get stuck in the computer system of the sewage treatment plant and should therefore be disposed of with household waste. Cotton swabs don't belong in the toilet either. Since they are not captured by the rake when the wastewater is mechanically cleaned, they have to be fished out of a sedimentation tank later. Nevertheless, none of the products end up in the Lech, reassures the sewage treatment plant. However, it is an increased effort and not a nice job to fish damp toilet paper, cotton swabs and the like out of the water. The rake catches the majority, but if too much gets stuck, it no longer works properly and pumps can clog as a result.

Conclusion: If consumers throw the damp toilet paper straight into the trash can instead of conveniently flushing it down, employees are saved a lot of work.

How does the Augsburg sewage plant react to the coronavirus?

According to the current state of knowledge, the new type of coronavirus cannot be detected in wastewater. The water treatment does not specifically target germs, but the water discharged into the Lech is at least as clean as the river itself, according to a spokesman for the sewage treatment plant.

Since the system is operated via a control room, the workforce is indispensable for operation. In order to ensure that no untreated water continues to get into the Lech, precautionary measures such as shift work are used in the sewage treatment plant. Soaps and disinfectants are also increasingly available, although people are used to special hygiene in the workplace anyway. The free tours introduced during the Water Days were originally supposed to take place every first Sunday from April and have now been discontinued until further notice. (ahell)

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