Toilet Paper is a hot topic when it comes to the volume of waste created in the bathroom. According to some studies, the average Canadian uses 57 sheets of toilet paper per day. 437 gallons of water are used to make TP and about 253,000 tons of bleach, not to mention the 27,000 trees that are flushed down the toilet every day.
If you read this blog often, you know I am all about making small changes to daily routines that can reduce waste and help protect the planet. If you've already ditched your plastic shampoo bottles for bars, and replaced your plastic water with a reusable one then it might be time to rethink your paper products and it starts with eco friendly toilet paper.
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Why make the switch to eco friendly toilet paper?
I mentioned some pretty crappy stats at the top of this post! Most people don't know that toilet paper contributes to deforestation in a big way. Last year the Natural Resources Defense Council released an alarming report called The Issue with Tissue 2.0: How the tree-to-toilet pipeline fuels our climate crisis, highlighting the connection between TP, climate change, and deforestation.
The report says that "clear-cutting for toilet paper and other short-term use products like facial tissues and paper towels, is putting 26 million metric tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere every year." I actually wrote a whole blog on this report called How Sustainable Is Your Toilet Paper Brand?
My top picks for sustainable toilet paper!
The next time nature calls and you need something to read on the throne, I highly recommend you take a look!
I've used and loved this brand for quite some time now. You can choose between two types of TP. Their premium is the softest eco friendly toilet paper I have ever used. It's made with sustainably sourced and harvested bamboo (from China) that's like wiping with a cloud. I first used this when I produced a segment for The Marilyn Denis Show and got to try them, I've been hooked ever since.
The second option you have is their recycled toilet paper, it's not as soft as the premium bamboo. It's made from recycled paper of which 95% is post-consumer waste paper and 5% is post-industrial paper. It's tree-free toilet paper. Instead of using bleach to whiten it, they use hydrogen peroxide. There is no ink, dyes or perfume in this brand, it's also BPA-free and biodegradable.
What I really love about this brand is that you can buy their eco friendly toilet paper in bulk. This not only saves you money it will help reduce your emissions too. You can order either option in bulk. I suggest signing up for their subscription service, you won't have to worry about running out of TP again or shlepping it from the store to your home.
A lot of toilet paper comes wrapped in plastic bags that can't be recycled, not the case with Who Gives A Carp, their TP is wrapped in the most colorful paper that you can use to wrap gifts in.
Who Gives A Crap is a Certified B Corporation that was founded in Australia via a Kickstarter Campaign. The brand was launched after the founders realized that more than 2.4 billion people don't have access to a toilet, to help WGAP donates 50% of their profits to improve sanitation and build toilets in the developing world. To date, they have donated $5.7 million to partners around the globe. EDITOR'S NOTE: They no longer ship to Canada.
How it works: 100% Recycled Toilet Paper comes in two bulk options, 48 rolls for $48, the most affordable eco-friendly toilet paper. Or 24 rolls for $30, choose between a one-time purchase or subscribe. The Bamboo is 48 rolls for $52 or $24 for $34, again choose between a one-time purchase or subscribe. And it’s all shipped carbon-neutral too. (in USD)
Reel is an eco friendly toilet paper company that was founded on the principle of giving back. For every roll of Reel you buy, they donate a single-use biodegradable toilet to someone who needs it. Reel's TP is tree-free, BPA-free, fragrance-free, chlorine-free has no inks, dyes, is plastic-free, and is biodegradable! All packaging is 100% compostable and recyclable.
All of Reel's toilet paper is made from Bamboo. Bamboo can grow 3ft in just 24 hours. It’s the fastest-growing plant on the planet, it can be harvested once a year and doesn’t need to be replanted. It uses 30% less water than hardwood trees. Plus it gives out 35% more oxygen than trees, meaning an acre of bamboo can fix approximately 25 metric tons of atmospheric CO2 per year.
When it comes to how the bamboo is sourced this is what they have to say: "We have gone to great lengths to ensure that our Chinese partners are the best at what they do and follow ethical business practices. This includes the treatment of their employees and the manufacturing of their products."
How it works: Buy 24 rolls for $29.99, you can choose to have it delivered every 4, 6, 8, 12, or 16 weeks. They recommend signing up for the subscription to take advantage of the free shipping. The one-time purchase is $32.99 plus $5 for shipping. (in USD)
What's the most eco friendly toiler paper on the market? PlantPaper is certainly at the top of the list. This Canadian brand is all about "tree-free and toxin-free, made from fast-growing FSC-certified bamboo."
If you are looking for thick eco friendly toilet paper this is it. Its 3-ply breaks down easily in septic systems, has a two-sided dimple pattern that offers a grippy side for grabbing a silky side for dabbing, and the larger sheets- up to 20% more surface area than conventional rolls -- mean you use less on every visit.
This is what the brand has to say about their TP: "We wanted a toilet paper for 21st-century humans. A toilet paper for everybody. After three years of research and development, we arrived at a product we’re proud of. Made entirely without trees, zero chlorine or formaldehyde, and requiring only a fraction of the water needed to produce tree paper."
PlantPaper’s chipboard cartons and shipping boxes are 100% recycled, recyclable, compostable, and free of dyes and coating. Their entire supply chain, from manufacturing to your door, is completely plastic-free.
How it works: A one-time purchase will cost you $50 for 32 rolls (CAD). Their subscription is broken down by how many people are in your household and how many rolls you will use prices range from 32 rolls every 3 months (1-2 people) for $45 or 32 rolls every 1.5 months for $45 (4 or more people).
If you live in Europe then give The Good Roll a go! The Good Roll is made from 100% recycled paper, without chlorine, colors, and fragrances. Our packaging is plastic-free.
They invest 50% of their net profit in the construction of toilets in developing countries. So, say BYE BYE to deforestation and hello to less water consumption and less CO2, among other things. Trees are for cuddling, not to end up as waste in your toilet. Their durable eco friendly toilet paper is super soft, super strong, and just as good for you as it is for your wallet! They all come in recycled paper that you can reuse to wrap gifts. SO cute!
How it works: They have 10 options to choose from and all the prices are listed in Euros.
Caboo is another brand I have used for years in my home. It's super soft and made from bamboo. It's sourced from China, but the company notes that:
The species of bamboo harvested for our paper have been certified as species that are not food sources for panda bears. As well, our production facility is FSC certified which must comply with a strict set of guidelines including protecting threatened and endangered species and their habitats and prohibiting conversion of forests or any other natural habitat."
The process to convert their raw materials into paper involves a manufacturing model that prioritizes environmental impact. It is important to note, that they are using virgin fibers that do not require intense cleaning or de-inking. For the bleaching process, they use hydrogen peroxide as an alternative to chlorine bleach. During the entire manufacturing process, their facility follows strict water recycling guidelines whereby 70 percent of the water used during all processes has to be recycled.
It does come wrapped in plastic that is fully recyclable, they are looking at alternatives to this. The plastic bags are made from plastic #4, LDPE, or (Low-Density Polyethylene. LDPE is considered less toxic than other plastics, and relatively safe for use. It is not commonly recycled, however, although this is changing in many communities today as more plastic recycling programs gear up to handle this material.
I wanted to include a brand that is more widely accessible and available in most big box stores. It's also a really affordable eco friendly toilet paper brand at $5.99 for 4 rolls. They are also members of 1% For The Planet.
Is there an eco-friendly alternative to toilet paper?
There sure is, there are quite a few actually. There are bidets that clean your tush sans the toilet paper and then there is the cloth alternative too. Which are more along the lines of zero waste toilet paper! And yes there is such a thing.
A bidet is a bathroom fixture that simply hooks onto the back rim of the bowl. Once you've pooped you simply use it to spray water into your butt to clean it. It can be used on your vijayjay too. The waster that is used comes from the tap, not the toilet. Once you are done, 5 - 15 seconds will get the job done, simply use a cloth (or TP) to pat your areas dry.
Hello Tushy has all your tushy needs covered. I am sure you have heard of a bidet, they are super popular in Europe but have not quite taken off in North America, yet! If you use a bidet you can forgo the toilet paper altogether. Tushy offers a Classic and Spa attachment. The Classic is simple and does what it needs after you do a number 2. The Spa is for those of us looking for a little more love in that area, think temperature and pressure control.
If you opt for the Spa, you will need to call in a plumber as it needs to be hooked into your hot water line. For the classic, you just need your toilet and your tush!
If a bidet is not your vibe, you can opt for their toilet paper. It's made from bamboo, which is more sustainable than cutting down trees. It comes sans bleach and BPA too.
Hello Tushy works with an NGO in India called Samagra, they work to enable the urban poor to lead healthier, productive, dignified and empowered lives. They encourage behavior change by converting community toilets into Centers of Empowerment. The Classic retails for $129 and the Spa for $149 (USD)
7. Whisper Bidet's eco eco-friendly alternative to toilet paper
Whisper Bidet is another bidet that you can take a look at. As they say, it's “a tiny shower for your butt™?” It's very affordable at $89. Making the switch will save you a ton of cash and help save a few trees, 27,000 to be exact!
Finally, I tried a bidet — and, holy shit, it was a game-changer. They’re cleaner, cheaper, environmentally friendly, and, most importantly, I was wiping just once and the toilet paper was coming up clean!Chad O'Connell, Founder - Whisper Bidet
It's incredibly easy to install, and they've got a series of very good videos that show you how to do it right!
Other eco friendly toilet paper alternatives
This list might seem a little out there! But we wanted to include it to make sure you have as many options at your disposal as possible.
Net Zero Co. is probably one of the best zero waste online stores in Canada. They have EVERYTHING you need to create a zero-waste kit. Choose from the best zero waste laundry strips to zero waste lip balm and even eco-friendly loofah alternatives.
Their Family Cloth Reusable Toilet UnPaper Roll is the perfect eco friendly toilet paper alternative. Now, I am not going to lie, it does take a little bit of trial and error to get used to using cloth toilet paper. These are not meant to be flushed, they are made with GOTS Organic Certified cotton and they fit on any standard toilet paper roll. I have not tried this yet, if you have, please let me know in the comments how it went for you! 🙂
Net Zero Co says to use these you simply:
- Use dry or damp with water (recommended dry for #1, wet for #2)
- After use, collect in a large cotton mesh bag/hamper until wash day (recommended twice a week)
- Machine wash hot with like colors. Tumble dry low or air dry. You may choose to pre-soak with vinegar/cleaning solution.
- Once dry, re-roll one at a time. Voila!
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Net Zero offers a range of reusable products covering every aspect of day-to-day life on their mission to help consumers reduce waste and its impact on the environment. USE ECOHUB10.
Marley's Monsters carries reusable toilet paper. They are super famous for their UNpaper Paper Towles. These sustainable toilet paper alternatives are made with 100% cotton flannel.
Once you use the cloth you place it in one of their wet bags that you will need to wash every couple of days. Like the Net Zero's clothes do not flush these, they will block your toilet if you do!
Marly's is a BRING-certified sustainable business. They hand-make all of their zero waste items and reuse fabric waste to make new goodies. They have over 47,000 sales in their Etsy Shop!
A few more things to consider when it comes to recycled toilet paper
I've highlighted different options for you to choose from. Who Gives A Crap makes two types, recycled toilet paper, and bamboo toilet paper. Other brands are using sustainably sourced bamboo!
The bottom line is that one roll of toilet paper needs 37 gallons of water, 1.3 kilowatts/hours (KWh) of electricity, and some 1.5 pounds of wood. Here is a really eye-opening graph from NRDC.
27,000 trees are flushed down the toilet every day to make virgin toilet paper. Conventional toilet paper is grown on monoculture plantations which do not take biodiversity into account at all. On top of that many of the trees in Canada's Boreal Forest are being used to make paper products. These trees are considered old-growth trees and take hundreds of years to grow. Once they are cut down they are gone forever. Wiping our a$$ should not come at the expense of the planet.
What kind of toilet paper do you use? I'd love to hear from you. And make sure you take a quick look at the brand directory, there are tons of sustainable living products for you to choose from.
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