Why You Should Give a Crap About Toilet Paper
April 4, 2019 • 5 min read
A recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Stand.earth gave mainstream TP brands such as Charmin, Bounty and Cottonelle failing grades due to the use of only virgin fibre pulp in their tissues, primarily sourced from Canada’s old boreal forests. While virgin fibre makes the tissue softer and more cushy on the tushy, the extensive sourcing of the pulp from our forests is contributing to environmental damage, climate change and is threatening natural wildlife habitats.
“The Canadian boreal forest is the largest intact forest in the world, and it holds immense value for Indigenous People, species and the climate. The forest is critical in the fight against climate change, as it stores the carbon equivalent of nearly twice the world’s recoverable oil reserves in its soil.” – EcoWatch
From 1996 to 2015, more than 28 million acres of boreal forest were logged, which is about the size of Ohio. Most of this logging goes to producing tissue for the world, but mainly for the U.S.
According to Greenpeace, “buying toilet paper made from virgin wood causes more environmental damage than owning an SUV”. And with the average American using almost three rolls per week, more than any other country in the world, we’re literally wiping out the forest! The trees that are used in this “tree-to-toilet” pipeline are majestic, ancient, full of incredible information, and part of an entire ecosystem of knowledge.
Luckily, there are several green alternatives out there that we can use instead.
The best alternative to using tissue when you issue are bidets – they are commonly used around the world except in North America and can either be installed as its own separate unit or as an attachment to your existing toilet seat. While some may be concerned that the use of bidets waste water, the amount is marginal when compared to the amount of water used to actually produce toilet paper. Not to mention the strain toilet paper has on our plumbing, the city sewer systems and water treatment facilities. And let’s also not forget about the added health benefits of bidets with improved cleanliness, a more pleasant experience for those with damaged skin (i.e. rashes or hemorrhoids) and the reduced risk of the spread of viruses from the almost 50% of the population that doesn’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.
Tushy is a modern bidet brand that has really stream-lined the process. They sell a classic bidet with one temperature setting and the spa version that gives users the option between a warm and cool water stream. Both can be installed in under 10 minutes with no electricity or plumbing required, come with a self-cleaning nozzle and can be adjusted for your preferred pressure and angle options.
Tushy provides both wet and dry options – bidets or bamboo toilet paper. For those wishing to continue using toilet paper, they sell tissue made from bamboo that is soft, BPA free and comes in plastic-free packaging. Bamboo is a great sustainable resource as it greatly reduces our carbon footprint, absorbing 35% more CO2emissions per hectare than other plants and can grow up to 39 inches per day, meaning it’s completely replenishable. The brand also doesn’t use any bleach or chlorine chemicals, keeping it all natural. And for those who wish to go completely TP free, they also sell bum towels made from bamboo (bumboo?) to pat your derrière dry after using the bidet.
Now if you’re not down to go with the flow, there are several environmentally friendly TP brands out there that will work as well. Australian brand Who Gives a Crap makes premium bamboo and 100% recycled toilet paper, packaged in pretty paper (yay no plastic!) with 50% of profits donated to helping build toilets for those in need. The TP is 3-ply, strong and soft and will be delivered straight to your door.
Pure Planet Club offers either one-off purchasing or a subscription service for their 100% tree-free toilet paper, made from bamboo and sugar cane. Their materials come from recycled waste material from the manufacturing industry and are biodegradable. They also promote a plastic-free lifestyle by packaging their product in recycled cardboard. Truly ass-tronomical, eh?!
The Good Roll is a Netherlands-based company that keeps our nether regions happy. Making toilet paper out of 100% recycled paper fibres, this brand ensures that no trees are harmed in the creation of their product, that less water is used and that it reduces carbon emissions. No chemicals or dyes are used in the production and the best part is that the soft yet strong paper comes wrapped in super cute paper packaging. This company also works with the Simavi Foundation, donating half of their profits to building safe toilets in homes and schools for those in need in developing countries like East Africa.
Seventh Generation is a B-Corp organization with a mission to “inspire a consumer revolution that nurtures the health of the next seven generations”. This brand takes the environment and the impact it has in the full production cycle through to the purchase, use and disposal of their products. They believe in transparency with the full plant-based ingredient list printed on the packaging, use scents from real ingredients and use recycled packaging for all their products. Their toilet paper is made from 100% recycled paper (minimum 80% post-consumer content), is unbleached and hypoallergenic.
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