Saving the world ain’t easy.

It’s product review time again! Faithful readers will know that every now and then a product comes by that deserves some extra attention – and I am just the guy to give it. So without further adieu, let’s talk paper towel…
Recently I was wandering through my favourite grocery store and on my list, right between sour cream and celery, was PAPER TOWEL. I always cringe a little because paper towel math is very similar to toilet paper math. Single roll, double roll, triple roll, half sheets, full sheets, 4 pack or 6 pack… We’ve all been there, scientific calculator in hand, trying to figure out the best deal. Some quick algebra and crudely sketched graphs and I was down to two choices. One of those choices was in a nice green package and claimed to be “sustainable” and something about eco blah blah. Now I’m not against forestry but honestly our forest management could use a little help so if I can have one tree directed to a much needed $12.00 two-by-four instead of being wasted sopping up my coffee from the Kuerig I forgot to put a cup under, then why not?
Curious what “tree free” paper was I did a quick read on the package and discovered that this amazing product was made from BAMBOO. And not just any bamboo, but the SOFTEST, MOST ABSORBANT bamboo on the planet. Intrigued I decided to try it.
I took their word on the sustainability part – I do not know if the bamboo was stolen from a Panda family or not. Perhaps I was using a baby Pandas last meal as a soak pad for bacon grease? Unfortunately I do not have that kind of information. I also do not know the carbon footprint of shipping bamboo halfway around the world instead of using local trees. I also do not know the human rights issues that may or may not be involved with the harvesting of said Bambo. Hmmm – a lot to think about for simple paper towel, but it was cheap so… Best to stick with imagining that I am saving the planet.
Upon opening the package I noticed that it was significantly umm – let’s say “crunchier” than normal paper towel. The package claims “the softest paper products in the world” and while i didnt do a scientific experiment with peer reviewing, I will stand by my assertation that I’ve felt softer. In fact I’m pretty sure I’ve felt softer 120 grit sandpaper. Alas I am trying to clean a counter top not do bodywork on a car. (At this moment I made a mental note to NEVER try bamboo toilet paper should the opportunity ever arise.)
Fast forward a couple of days and, with my incredible purchasing decision a distant memory, I walked into the house and noticed a smell. Now when I say “smell” I mean a noxious odor of indescribable horror. A full on olfactory assault of apocalyptic proportion. And when I say “notice” I mean it was like the preceeding scent was applied to my nose with a high speed shovel.
One of the dogs had apparently eaten something that didn’t quite agree with her intestines. Also apparently, whatever she ate came out as demon infused chocolate tapioca pudding mixed with mud water – and it came out from the opposite end that it went in. (It came out the end that doesn’t have teeth in case you didn’t follow me there). I wasn’t sure if I needed doggie pepto bismal or a K9 exorcism, but neither was available at this moment so through clenched teeth and watering eyes I held my breath and sent the somewhat forlorn looking offender outside.
Now I don’t want to be too graphic but the above mentioned chocolate tapioca was EVERYWHERE. Including a delightful spray up the wall. I did note that the spatter pattern would make for interesting abstract art – which added to my thoughts of cutting out the drywall and starting over. A coat of varathane and I could sell it at an art auction perhaps. I’d need a catchy title though, and unfortunately “The Last Supper” and “The Scream”, while both very fitting names, have already been taken by some other artists. Anyway, back to the product review.
I hurriedly grabbed my new paper towel, never having thought that it’s first usage would be a full blown, five alarm emergency situation. I quickly unraveled a few sheets and pulled at the perforation and… nothing happened. I regripped and tugged again and the bamboo paper-replacement finally ripped… LENGTHWISE. I now had two strips of this eco-friendly science experiment hanging from the roll mocking me. I gave up on that particular perforation and spooled down a couple more sheets, starting my rip carefully now at the edge of the line that was, by all accounts, put there for the very purpose of ripping. A ragged line formed, tearing quite literally everywhere EXCEPT on the perforation. Apparently the perforation guy didn’t understand the assignment.
By this point the smell was permeating my eye sockets and I was pretty sure I could taste the K9 chocolate tapioca so a smooth tear was now very low on my priority list anyway. I bundled up the mass I had been able to set free from the main roll and applied it to the brown soupy mess at my feet and… nothing. It soaked up nothing. Apparently bamboo is not absorbant? In horror I began to move the bundle in a circular motion, smearing an amazing pattern of liquid brown goo around while actually soaking up very little. Now in full blown panic I started spooling off paper like a blue marlin taking line on a deep sea fishing charter. I emptied the whole roll across the floor two and three layers deep like a new carpet – anything to block the smell. The empty spool fell to the floor as I unloaded roll #2 onto the mess at my feet. Dizzy from holding my breath, I have now left it that way in the hopes that a wandering Panda will smell the bamboo and come to help clean up. Either that or when it dries I can just paint over it and call it good. I suspect it should dry pretty solid and might even take a good coat of wax. I will need to change the couch cushions to match the colour however that rule of three goes on home decor.
I do have to wonder what exactly the purpose is of paper towel that is not made from paper, doesn’t tear and also doesn’t soak up the spills is actually for? The only thing it did right is hold its shape in the non-environmentally friendly plastic wrapper and look like paper towel long enough to trick me out of $5.49. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a shower.

3 thoughts on “Saving the world ain’t easy.

  1. I wonder whether it was that brand or all bamboo paper towels. I’ve bought towels and sheets made with bamboo and they have been fine, the towels absorbent. Sorry to hear about your experience. Also: I think bamboo can grow in the U.S. and is no longer picked exclusively by Asians wearing pointy hats. 😉


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