Five million tons of toilet paper used per year – 50 pounds per year for each average consumer. Just over one million tons of paper towels used each year – three thousand tons per day. So it would seem that toilet paper has a pretty commanding lead, if you can believe these statistics.
In individual businesses and houses, that number varies greatly depending on how many people use the facilites. However overall, I’d say that toilet paper is used more.
Since many public restrooms have installed air dryers, it has significantly cut down on the amount of paper towel waste. In houses, many people use hand towels instead of paper towels. However, there is not so easy a substitute for toilet paper (unless bidets also become as widely used). There are websites that can give estimates on the amount of paper used per person.
Assuming that the average size for a roll of toilet paper is 500 sheets (although they can be anywhere from 350 to 500 sheets), and that the average American uses 20,805 sheets of paper in a year, Americans use about 42 rolls a year. Some estimates have shown that Americans use 1.5 to 2 paper towel rolls per week, which comes out to 78-104 rolls used a year. Even with a more conservative estimate of 4 rolls per month, it still comes to 48 rolls a year used on paper towels. Therefore, Americans buy more paper towels than toilet paper.
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