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Cuba runs out of toilet paper

The financial crisis, which has already hit Cuba's economy hard, is about to give the country another big kick, this time in the tuchas. Literally. Cuba is on the verge of a toilet-paper crisis.

Devastating hurricanes have left the state-run company that produces the country's supply, without the raw materials necessary to keep up with demand. In addition to which, President Raul Castro recently announced a 20 percent cut in imports, meaning a lot less goods on state-run store shelves. Cuban officials are saying they may not have sufficient TP supplies until the end of the year.

Worldwide, toilet paper is a booming business, especially in the United States where consumers use up to 50 million pounds of TP a year. It seems American bottoms have a "soft-tissue" fetish, one that's not only costly, but harmful to the environment. In order to get the fluffiest tissue, suppliers take from the world's rainforests. Earlier this year Greenpeace released a toilet-paper guide listing the more planet-friendly products. 

One penny-saving option for Cuba would be to use recycled lavatory paper, a much cheaper alternative on the whole. Indeed, many countries are already using the eco-friendly alternative, even if it is a little ... rough.

For Cuba, this could be an opportunity to take that initiative one seriously brave step further to becoming a leader to an "greener" planet: Go cloth.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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