Friday, January 23, 2009
There's a web site that deals exclusively with toothpaste, if you're interested in picking up a lot of trivia about a very common household commodity: Toothpasteworld - World's Largest Toothpaste Collection. Also see Toothpaste in Wikipedia
Colgate, Proctor and Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, and Unilever, which manufacture the major brands sold around the world, are among the largest companies on the globe today.
If you stop to think about it, there is an incredible about of toothpaste consumed every day.
I don't know if anyone has ever tried to calculate the actual consumption but let's make a rough attempt. In almost every ad and photo you see of toothpaste in use, a strip of about 1inch is spread on the brush. At this moment, the world population is somewhere over 6.8 billion people. If we suppose that only 25% of the people in the world use toothpaste, and that they only brush one time per day, the world consumption of toothpaste is a strip which measures some 26, 830 miles EVERY DAY!
That's more than one complete circumference of the globe.
What's the point of this?
From my own experience, I've discovered that you don't need 1" of toothpaste to effectively brush your teeth. In fact, I even have my doubts if you really need it at all, so long as you do brush your teeth regularly. But, in my own case I have found that just 1/4" of toothpaste does a very nice and refreshing job of cleaning in my mouth.
So, if the world's population were to reduce their use of this product to the level I have found effective, we could conserve all the resources and energy which is needed to make 20,123 miles of toothpaste each day. The annual savings would me more than 7 million miles of toothpaste.
Just one simple, small change which is within the capacity of everyone without any cost or inconvenience could add up to significant impact.
For years I've been hearing about dietary fiber which is also called roughage or bulk.
My American Heritage Dictionary define this as:
Coarse, indigestible plant matter, consisting primarily of polysaccharides such
as cellulose, that when eaten stimulates intestinal peristalsis.
I can remember family members who had problems with their digestion buying something in the pharmacy which looked to me to be nothing more than some kind of seed (I believe the product was called Metamucil, or something similar).
What stuck me as odd then, and even now was that many people I know who have had a problem with their digestion, always removed the seeds when they ate watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), whereas I simply swallowed them whole whenever I encountered them.
If our body actually needs a certain amount of indigestible plant matter, it didn't make much sense to remove them from what we ate, especially if they weren't unpleasant or difficult to ingest.
Over the past few years, I've started eating the seeds of cantaloupe (Cucumis melo var. reticulatus)too, also without chewing. When I first tried it, they seemed a bit repulsive as I scooped up a spoonful from the center of the fruit, mostly due to their "strange" appearance and the fact that -- by custom -- I had previously consider them to be garbage.
Now that I've become accustomed to eating them, I consider them to be the most delectable part of the fruit. The membrane which surrounds them is generally quite juicy and has a much more intense flavor than the remainder of the flesh.
On top of everything, I believe I'm helping my intestinal processes and have never had a single one one sprout while still inside me.