Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Science, Humor, and Sustainability Behind Who Gives A Crap’s Toilet Paper


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Toilet paper gets an eco, mood-boosting upgrade with Who Gives A Crap’s newest collection.

Going to the bathroom — it’s a mood, right? We go, most often, because we need to go. But we also head to the water closet sometimes for a break — an introvert’s respite from a crowded event, maybe it’s for a bit of grooming, or to gather our thoughts before a big meeting, a first date, a breakup.

Whatever the reason may be, we all go to the bathroom. And sustainable bamboo and recycled paper toilet paper brand Who Gives A Crap is hoping to make that bathroom visit a little bit more meaningful and a whole lot less stressful, with the launch of what it says is the world’s first mood-boosting toilet paper collection, Happy TP.

Mood-boosting toilet paper

Who Gives A Crap has launched a limited edition artists-designed collection in an effort to help you feel good on (and just generally near) the toilet. The box features 12 unique and science-backed designs from happy dogs and rainbows to affirmations — all aimed at giving your mood a boost. 

Who Gives A Crap's mood-boosting toilet paper
Who Gives A Crap’s mood-boosting toilet paper | Courtesy

Who Gives A Crap says it partnered with a roster of artists, which includes Lily Fulop, Izzy Lawrence, Melissa Mathieson, Mischelle Moy, Gretchen Schwartz, and Tyler Spangler because they’re known for their dopamine-inducing designs. There’s Spangler, who designed the Laughter, Smile, and Altruism wrappers, as well as Lawrence and Mathieson who visualized the concepts of Meditation, Music, Sleep, Confidence, and Exercise. 

“When we laugh, we swap out the cortisol (or stress hormone) in our bloodstream with feel-good chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins,” Who Gives A Crap told Ethos via email. And the company says designing a wrapper with jokes to get people chuckling is a surefire way to boost their moods while they sit on the loo.

Toilet paper’s dirty secrets

There’s more reason than ever to want to make your bathroom trip a bit, well, lighter. That’s because the environmental impact of conventional toilet paper is pretty (ahem) shitty.

According to recent data, the U.S. uses more toilet paper than any other country in the world. On average, every American will use a whopping 141 rolls per year. In most cases, this paper comes at the expense of virgin trees, namely from Canada’s critically important boreal forests. In fact, toilet paper production is a leading cause of deforestation, with more than one million trees cut down for toilet paper worldwide every single day. 

toilet paper
Photo courtesy Konstantin Volke

It’s not just forests that suffer as a result of our toilet paper dependency. When it comes to conventional toilet tissue, there’s a huge amount of plastic waste involved, too. The numbers are tricky when it comes to plastic wrap waste, but according to the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), nearly 60 percent of plastic waste is generated by plastics with a lifetime of less than five years. Forty percent comes from packaging and 12 percent is from the consumer goods industries. 

So let’s do a little math (another fun way to pass the time on the toilet) at 141 rolls per person per year, that’s more than 23 six-packs of toilet paper a year all wrapped in plastic film. Multiply that by every person in the U.S. and that’s nearly 9 billion six-packs of plastic-wrapped toilet paper every single year. (Holy. Crap.)

Who Gives A Crap doesn’t wrap its rolls in plastic, it uses tissue paper printed with eco-friendly soy inks instead. It’s more sustainable and looks a lot nicer, too.

Just like those other industries linked to deforestation (chiefly beef, dairy, soy, and palm oil), and those tied to the global plastic waste problem, there are alternatives to conventional toilet paper. No, we don’t mean you need to run out and buy a bidet — although it’s not a bad idea. 

Photo courtesy Hemant Kanojiya

But here’s the thing: even with bidets in every home, toilet paper is still a really important commodity. It’s kind of hard to imagine a world without toilet paper, isn’t it?

Unlike the challenges that come with switching from beef or palm oil to more sustainable solutions, making the shift from virgin toilet paper to bamboo or recycled is incredibly easy. All you have to do is choose the more sustainable product — and in the case of Who Gives A Crap, you just have it delivered straight to your door every month (with free, carbon neutral shipping). 

Toilet paper on a mission

Who Gives A Crap, is a certified B Corp, meaning it takes this do good stuff super seriously. It donates 50 percent of its profits to clean water and sanitation efforts working to build toilets and bring clean water to everyone around the world by 2050. “We’re on a mission to uncrap the world,” the company says. And it’s making good on that promise with more than $11.2 million donated toward its goal to date. 

who gives a crap

We may take them for granted here in the U.S. but conveniences like running water and toilets are two of the biggest weapons in the fight against communicable diseases across the globe. (How’s this for a little irony: as conventional toilet paper brands contribute to deforestation and the global plastic waste problem, they also help to exacerbate climate change, which puts more people at risk of contagious diseases that both toilets and running water can help prevent.)

It’s all a lot to think about the next time you find yourself in the bathroom. And it’s why Who Gives A Crap says its purpose is to make it fun to do good. “The news surrounding the climate crisis can sometimes feel all doom and gloom,” the company says, “but with Happy TP, we wanted to show that you can make a more eco-conscious choice and still get a dopamine hit every time you go to the loo. After all, nothing says wipe that frown upside down like puppies and rainbows.”

Learn more and shop now on the Who Gives A Crap website.

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