A New Sustainability Debate—Bidet vs. Toilet Paper

June 23, 2021
photo of a bidet in a bathroom

What is better for the environment, using sustainable toilet paper or a bidet?

Kory Russel, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Studies, likens choosing one of these options to choosing oat milk or almond milk. Both options are better for the environment than cow’s milk.

“The main thing I take away from this comparison is something that happens a lot when it comes to climate change and sustainability, which is people getting very upset or very invested in the more sustainable feature when its overall impact is very, very small,” says Kory Russel, a professor of landscape architecture and environmental studies at the University of Oregon.

“When it comes to the bidet versus the toilet paper, my advice is whatever is most comfortable, go with that,” Russel said. “And don’t feel guilty. [Again], it’s far more important that the proper things are going down the toilet than thinking about a bidet versus toilet paper.”

Similar to not choosing cow’s milk, choosing not to flush items that aren’t designed to degrade safely in our sewer systems, such as wipes and tampons, is the better choice as those can cause untreated wastewater to overflow into the environment.

Learn more about the finer points of the debate and our aging sewer systems in the article, “Are bidets really better for the planet than toilet paper?”