Who gives a crap about sustainable toilet paper? You should if being eco-friendly matters.
Paper goods were a hot commodity amid the panic-buying stage of the pandemic. Sales of toilet paper—which future historians will likely go on to refer to as “white gold”—certainly saw a hefty boost. (After all, WFH duty meant more time spent atop one’s own toilet.) The bad news is that by now you’ve likely wiped through your highly coveted stock of TP. The good news is that you can make your next Instacart purchase a sustainable one by opting for eco-friendly toilet paper.
The environmental impact of toilet paper
The U.S. leads the world in toilet paper consumption, according to research firm Statista. The average American uses 141 rolls of toilet paper each year.
But the toilet paper industry is a rather dirty business. Precious natural resources like forests are literally being flushed right down the drain.
The average tissue roll is made from virgin wood pulp, or virgin fiber, which is derived from hardwood and softwood trees.
According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, global toilet paper production is responsible for 15 percent of all deforestation, which in turn causes soil erosion, increases greenhouse gasses, impacts wildlife, and more.
Moreover, the production of toilet paper requires a large amount of water (anywhere between 12 and 37 gallons) and chemicals and toxins (such as bleach and formaldehyde) just to make one roll—not to mention, the plastic used to wrap it.
Eco-friendly toilet paper brands to shop
Your afternoon potty break doesn’t have to come with a big environmental footprint, though. Of course, the best way to minimize the impact of your #1s and #2s altogether is to ditch toilet paper. Companies like Tushy and Omigo make installing your own bidet attachment at home a breeze.
But if you’re not willing to forgo the wipes (or give reusable cloths a chance), you can still give a crap about sustainability with these eco-friendly toilet paper brands, from recycled toilet paper to tissue made with bamboo.
1. Cloud Paper
Even Iron Man is a fan of a sustainable wipe. In 2021, actor Robert Downey Jr. backed Seattle-based startup Cloud Paper—makers of 100 percent bamboo-based toilet paper. The three-ply tissues are wrapped in plastic-free packaging and contained in a post-consumer recycled box.
2. Grove Co.
Made from FSC-certified bamboo, Grove Co.’s eco-friendly toilet paper is “a branch above” the basics.
Tree-, chemical-, and toxin-free, this company makes its three-ply tushy wipes with organic bamboo. Renewable and versatile, bamboo is a more sustainable option because it grows quickly and doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizer. Free of chlorine, PlantPaper is encased in plastic-free packaging for an eco-friendly wipe every time.
For another tree-free, bamboo-based option, shop Reel. The company’s three-ply tissue paper is free of fragrances, plastic, inks, and dyes. The brand partnered with the Haiti-based non-profit SOIL to help provide toilets and remove waste from marginalized communities.
You’ll never have to run out of toilet paper again thanks to this TP subscription service. Bumroll’s two-ply toilet paper is 100 percent recycled, sustainably sourced, and ethically made in California. It’s also free of chlorine, plastic, and perfume. It also uses two percent of its net profits to help plant trees through the company’s partnership with the National Forest Foundation.
6. Who Gives a Crap
For a sustainable wipe, shop this B Corp-certified brand. Good for your bum, people, and the planet, the company’s toilet paper is made with 100 percent recycled paper without the use of inks, dyes, or scents. It also carries biodegradable bamboo-based toilet paper and offers the option of carbon-neutral shipping. The company donates 50 percent of its profits to help build toilets for those in need around the world.
Give your bathroom hygiene a sustainable upgrade with this eco-friendly brand. In addition to being tree-free, Caboo’s tissues require less than one gallon of water to produce one roll. Made with 100 percent bamboo and free of additional chlorine bleaching and chemicals, the two-ply paper is safe for your derrière and the planet. Not only does the company save trees, but it also plants them, too. In conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, Caboo’s Planet Re-Leaf Program plants one tree for every pound of paper sold.