Bum Gun in Public Restrooms: A Sustainable Way to Save Trees and the Earth

Written by Ngoc Nguyen, ESLLC 2017-2018

You may have heard of it, or you may not: the bum gun, the “gun” that has become an essential part of many people’s daily lives in many parts of the world. It might not be so popular in America, but it is common in most Asian, European, and Islamic countries [1]. Also known as the bidet shower, it is used in the bathroom for anal cleaning. The bum gun is said to have been invented in the 1700s [2], in France, and now is widely used across the world due to its easy convenience for cleaning.


Fig 1. A picture of the bum gun, which is sold for around $15 in Vietnam

So what is the point of using it and what is the contribution of the bum gun to the sustainability revolution nowadays? For one, it is considered as one of the most effective ways to reduce toilet paper consumption by changing paper cleaning habits to water cleaning habits. Though the bum gun has been applied in many parts of the world, it hasn’t affected the daily life in the U.S so far. Bum gun is a promising product that might bring fascination to many people, and is a great idea for those who want to save the environment through daily activities.


Fig 2. A video showing how to use the bum gun in Russia. A bum gun can provide excellent personal hygiene and facilitate the hurt created by the interaction between toilet paper and human skin

Each year, the United States uses up to seven billion rolls of toilet paper [3]. On average, each American consumes 50 pounds of paper per year, which is 50% more than the average paper use of other Western countries or Japan. Even if a large amount of paper has been recycled, the impact of the recycling process to the environment is of great concern with a large amount of chemical waste, energy and water being used in the process. As a major consumption country, the U.S has a huge impact on the environment, and changing the paper cleaning habits can save millions of trees in North and South America [3].

But wait, you may wonder, if this product is so great, why it hasn’t caught on America? Perhaps the reasons why the bum gun hasn’t penetrated the U.S are the historical and culture barriers. There is a hypothesis that, in the 18th century, the Britons (who had a big influence on the early American colonists) had a historical disdain for the French aristocracy, who were the first people to use the water bum gun [4]. However, letting history determine the future is not what we should do. There are articles discussing the advantages of using the bum gun, but no one has taken further steps. While in the past, people seemed to care more about their feelings and the convenience of an invention, now we should care more about the environment. There is no reason to hesitate to change one’s life habits if its impact on the environment is clear and more effective. If we act now, we can help facilitate the work of the next generation for the planet. Together we can create changes and maintain the sustainability of the Earth!

For more information or discussion, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email Ngoc.Nguyen@du.edu.

Sources and References

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bidet_shower

[2] http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/10/dont-americans-use-bidets/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet_paper#cite_note-26

[4] http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/10/dont-americans-use-bidets/

Interesting video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=475s3t80wcc : 6 things in Vietnam I wish America had


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