Did you know that the average person uses 100 rolls of toilet paper per year? And we chop down roughly 16 mil trees a year to make toilet paper? That’s a lot of trees and water being wasted just to wipe! Thankfully we have the option to choose a more sustainable paper or ultimately zero waste toilet paper, which will save our planet from deforestation and keep us fresh as well.
The life of toilet paper is usually short-lived, one use and it’s flushed down the toilet. Most of us don’t even give these little white rolls a second thought.
Unfortunately, toilet paper production is devastating the world’s forests, ultimately amplifying the climate crisis. Deforestation is a threat to wildlife and indigenous communities.
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- The Issue with Toilet Paper
- Zero Waste Toilet Paper, What are the Options?
- The Best Sustainable & Zero Waste Toilet Paper
- Swap your Toilet Rolls for a Bidet
- Reusable Toilet Paper
- Our Closing Thoughts on Sustainable Toilet Paper
The Issue with Toilet Paper
Traditional toilet paper is great for hygiene, but not so good when it comes to sustainability. Soft fluffy toilet paper comes at a price as millions of trees are harvested to produce it every year as mentioned. Even though toilet paper can be made from recycled material there is always a compromise in feel as fibre taken from standing trees helps to give the paper its soft feel. And that’s what most producers rely on.
Our demand for lofty paper is where the problem comes in. Recycled paper or bamboo paper has a tendency to feel stiff and harsh against the skin. And on top of it, recycled paper cannot be quilted. But is the price of luxury toilet paper worth the health of our planet?
As you’ve landed on the page, the answer is probably no. We’d say so for sure. If you have to go with toilet paper then you can always keep a few luxury rolls on standby for those days when you need a bit of extra tender care – we all know the feeling right? But luckily you have options, let’s take a look.
Zero Waste Toilet Paper, What are the Options?
Everyday toilet paper found in most shops such as Cushelle or Andrex is generally made from virgin trees that may or may not be harvested responsibly. To create a white appearance, the tree pulp is mixed with chemicals and bleaches.
Trees are generally slower growing and we’re using them quicker than we can sustainably replace them.
When it comes to zero waste toilet paper there are a few variations that you can choose from.
Recycled Toilet Paper
Recycled toilet paper is made from recycled paper as the name suggests. However, it’s important to know that the paper used for recycled toilet paper can contain BPA as it’s often made from old receipts, flyers, magazines and luggage tags. BPA is a harmful chemical mostly found in plastic bottles that can be bad for your health. Even so, the percentage of BPA is relatively small so the risk is lower.
Recycled paper is usually a medium soft paper. Some of the cheaper versions can create a John Wayne effect so choose wisely, you don’t want to regret your decision in your hour of need.
Reusable Toilet Paper
Reusable toilet paper, sometimes called “Family Cloth” is usually made from a reusable material such as rags or purchased cloth wipes that can be washed once used. The issue with reusable toilet paper is that you will have to safely and hygienically store the used cloths until washing them. This might not be the most pleasant experience but is not much different than washing extra dirty underwear.
Bamboo Toilet Paper
As far as zero waste toilet paper goes, bamboo might be the best one we currently have as Bamboo is the world’s fastest-growing plant and can be grown sustainably in the right environment. Bamboo re-grows so does not need re-planting and can therefore replenish itself for a long time. Some Bamboo toilet paper can be stiff and harsh, so again make sure you choose your paper wisely.
Look out for unbleached, plastic-free rolls as they will contain fewer chemicals and is better for our planet.
The Best Sustainable & Zero Waste Toilet Paper
If you’re not ready to take the leap and buy a Bidet you can opt for a more sustainable or zero waste toilet paper. When it comes to traditional toilet rolls here are the best sustainable toilet roll options for an eco-friendly home.
1. SKINKISSED Virgin Bamboo Toilet Paper
SKINKISSED, known for its skincare products, produces a cheeky looking Zero waste paper made from Virgin Bamboo pulp. Established in the UK, the company donates 20% of its profits to Children in Need.
These funky little rolls are 4-ply. The rolls are pure luxury. And yes it’s nice and sturdy so won’t disintegrate as you wipe. They don’t use chlorine bleaching and no chemicals are added, it’s all very organic. Their raw materials are Fusc forest certified, which means forests are responsibly managed.
There is no need to worry about softness as this is a nice and plush paper, no question. As it goes these rolls do not come wrapped in plastic which puts a smile on our faces, for sure.
2. MOTHER EARTH Organic Bamboo Toilet Paper
Now ain’t these little rolls super cute! MOTHER EARTH toilet paper is made of organic bamboo, it’s climate pledge friendly, FSC certified and it’s certified by the Forest Steward Council.
These rolls are 3-ply, 100% organic and plastic-free. All packaging is sustainable.
MOTHER EARTH ticks all the sustainability boxes so you don’t have to worry about pesticides or fertilisers, or even chlorine-based bleaching. As with some of the other bamboo, papers listed its septic tank safe and 100% biodegradable.
If you’re looking for a soft and strong roll, then you’re in the right place. And if the sweet little animals won’t warm your heart then their sustainability credentials definitely will.
3. Betterway Bamboo Toilet Paper 3 PLY
Betterway is definitely a great 100% bamboo roll, without any plastic wrapping! The company is US based and carbon-neutral, they do this via carbon offsets, however. Which means they are investing in green projects but that doesn’t make the carbon they produced go away exactly right?
In terms of the bamboo, this is FCS certified sustainable and each wrapper is compostable. Delivering a paper that is kinder to the skin and less harmful to the planet.
Being bamboo it’s a medium soft paper, but super absorbent. This is definitely a brand worth trying out if you’re keen on buying a more sustainable product.
4. Reel Premium Bamboo Toilet Paper
Reel is a premium Bamboo toilet paper made of 100% bamboo. Making it sustainable and eco-friendly. This is a Tree-Free 3 ply roll that is actually quite soft and strong so you don’t need to sacrifice quality for sustainability. Each roll is individually wrapped and all their shipping material is biodegradable, recyclable and plastic-free! Even the tape, can you believe it.
As a company reel helps to promote earth-friendly paper products, and they’re looking for your support to take their mission forward. By buying reel rolls you are helping to provide access to clean toilets to those in need around the world while giving yourself the opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint – now that’s a winner.
The rolls are fragrance-free, tree-free, chlorine-free and plastic-free. You won’t find any dies or nasty chemicals used during the manufacturing process.
Reel is more than just a paper company. They’re a team of big-hearted people who have a clear vision shaped by everyday challenges such as climate change and deforestation.
5. Cheeky Panda Bamboo Toilet Paper
Cheeky Panda was started by founders Julie and Chris who noticed a surplus of Bamboo that was being wasted during a trip to Asia in 2016. They saw an opportunity to develop a more sustainable solution than chopping down trees. They started Cheeky Panda.
Cheeky Panda is made from 100% FSC Bamboo sourced from China where Bamboo occurs naturally. Bamboo grows 30 times faster than trees, producing 30% more oxygen while absorbing 35% more carbon, making it extremely renewable.
The Cheeky Panda is a bamboo champion of sorts, making a useful product out of bamboo where it grows abundantly in nature. It’s definitely better than chopping down trees and it’s naturally hypoallergenic.
All Cheeky Panda’s products are vegan, cruelty-free and BCorp which make sure the products are good for you and kind to the planet.
6. Seventh Generation
Seventh Generation is on a mission to change the world. They would like to make sure they leave a healthy, sustainable and equitable planet for the next seven generations. They have been around for 30 years, and have made a big commitment in terms of sustainability.
Made from 100% recycled paper of which a minimum of 50% is post-consumer recycled paper, Seventh Generation’s 2-ply toilet rolls are whitened without using chlorine bleach. They manufacture in the USA and Canada and all materials are sourced from North America. Their packaging is recyclable at store drop-off in many areas.
If you’re used to aloe vera coated triple-ply luxury paper then the switch will be a hard one as this is paper is definitely not ultra-soft but it’s a good quality paper with a good level of softness considering it’s a recycled paper and much better for the planet.
7. Caboo Tree-Free Bamboo Toilet Paper
Camboo also uses fast-growing Bamboo from Western China along with sugarcane which is grown in protected fields in Thailand. The company closely manages water use during production, making sure that at least 70% of the water used is recycled. Their production facilities are close to the port, cutting down journey times during transportation. Camboo has clearly thought through the sustainability of its production process!
You can safely use Camboo’s toilet paper in a septic tank. Their zero waste toilet paper is non-GMO as well as EFC (Elemental Chlorine Free), fragrance and BPA free.
This is a two-ply paper, but once again if you’re switching from a triple-ply luxury roll perhaps take the plunge slowly so that you can adjust gradually as it’s not a lux soft paper, yet soft enough for regular use.
8. Ecoleaf 100% Recycled Toilet Paper
Ecoleaf is made by Suma who is known for its organic foods. The company launched the UK’s very first recycled toilet paper in the mid-1980s and also, make eco-friendly dishwasher tablets that we featured a while ago.
The Ecoleaf range is made using biodegradable and non-hazardous ingredients. The product packaging is 100% compostable.
It does come in plastic unfortunately but is stated to be 100% compostable. As far as compostable plastic-like materials go, the jury is still out on its environmental credentials as all plastics will break down in time and become smaller bits of microplastics. And yes the rolls do have an element of plastic packaging so be mindful there..
Swap your Toilet Rolls for a Bidet
If you’d like to reduce pollution and save trees then a Bidet is always a good option. It’s kind on your skin and good for the planet.
The Lux Neo Bidet pictured comes with an 18 Month Warranty and easily attaches to your existing toilet – no need to replace your old one.
A bidet is also a handy way to avoid toilet paper shortages during periods of panic buying!
Comparatively, bidets use a lot less water and are a solid zero waste toilet paper as well, you don’t use any so here is an option if you’d like to consider them.
Reusable Toilet Paper
This post will not be complete without listing reusable toilet paper. It’s a very low/zero waste toilet paper for sure.
These reusable handmade cloths are made using two layers of organic cotton flannel. It’s completed with surged edges to stop the fabric from fraying.
Wash them without fabric softeners or dryer sheets to promote absorbency. You’ll need to wash and tumble dry them a few times before first use. The plus side is that these are super versatile and you can use them for any type of reusable wipes such as face cloths and makeup removal cloths. Make sure to separate your reusable wipes by use.
Our Closing Thoughts on Sustainable Toilet Paper
Toilet paper is very much a personal choice so we’d recommend trying options you are comfortable with. From where we stand going for a Bidet or Bamboo toilet paper is the best toxic-free and most hygienic option on the market today.