I believe that if you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, switching to an Eco friendly toilet paper brand is among the easiest steps you can take. Seriously. Not only the prices are about the same, but there are also so many green and sustainable alternatives to toilet paper, you won’t have to settle on anything.
This is exactly why I wrote this guide. To expose you to all the different types of eco-friendly toilet paper. Personally, Marcal 100% recycled toilet paper is my favorite brand. Scroll down to find out why.
Fun Fact: According to a study done by “stand.earth” called “Issue with Tissue” Americans consume 20% of the world’s toilet paper. While they make only 4.25% of the entire world population.
7 Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper Brands
Here is a list of 7 environment-friendly toilet paper brands. All of them are sustainable. But each one with a different approach. So every choice you make from the brands below will be eco-friendly, you just have to choose the one best for your needs.
- 100% recycled paper
- 100% Recyclable plastic wrapper
- 100% Recycled and recyclable cardboard box
- Certification: FSC and Rain forest alliance
Seventh Generation toilet paper is on top of my list of earth-friendly toilet paper brands. The reason why is that, as a brand, Seventh Generation put sustainability first. From using recycled packaging materials, plant-based formulations to presenting full ingredient transparency, and B-corp standards of corporate responsibilities.
This establishment is a leader and a role model when it comes to sustainability.
The organization itself is very eco-friendly. They take into account their products’ entire life cycle and they try to minimize its environmental impact to the minimum. So when buying from Seventh Generation you know you’re making a green choice.
Not only they care about the planet, but they also care about the people who live on it. For the last 30 years, the company is on a mission to help those in developing countries. So a part of the money you spend on Seventh generation products goes for helping people in need.
The Seventh Generation bath tissue is made of 100% recycled paper (minimum 50% post-consumer recycled fiber). It has no added dyes, inks, or fragrances and it’s whitened without chemicals containing chlorine.
Bamboo products have a big hype around them in the eco-friendly community, and for a good reason, I must say. Especially when it comes to disposable products like toilet paper, paper towels or tissue.
Bamboo is considered eco-friendly for a few reasons. First of all, bamboo has an extremely high growth rate, meaning it regenerates at a fast rate. More over it can grow very densely (unlike trees) so it takes less land. Lastly, bamboo takes less water and resources to grow compared to trees.
All of these qualities make bamboo toilet paper more sustainable and earth-friendly than toilet paper made of trees.
Caboo tree-free bamboo toilet paper is made of a mix of bamboo and sugarcane, that unlike some recycled (trees) paper results in a very smooth and soft product. The toilet paper is a 2-ply Lint-free, BPA free, fragrance-free, paraben-free and free of elemental chlorine
Due to their responsible manufacturing, Caboo holds numerous certificates. The BRC Global Standards and ISO accredit the company. Furthermore, their products are Non-GMO Project verified.
- Made with 100% renewable power
- 3 Trees are planted for each 1 used
- Recyclable packaging
- Certificate: Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Although the company is using hard-wood (not recycled) for their toilet paper, they make up for it with a policy where they plant 3 trees for each tree used. Aria will plant longleaf pine trees in southern Mississippi as it’s a partner of the Longleaf Alliance. These trees provide a safe habitat to gopher tortoise and red-cockaded woodpecker. Which got them SFI certified.
Additionally, their manufacturing process is running solely on renewable energy.
Aria toilet paper is a premium 2-ply strong and soft toilet paper, the packaging is 52% plant-based and recyclable. It is not the most eco-friendly choice on our list. But it’s the right choice for those who want to be more sustainable without sacrificing comfort.
Macral toilet paper is my favorite brand of eco-friendly toilet paper because not only it produce a smooth and soft eco-friendly bath tissue that is 100% recycled but it’s also entirely plastic-free! Meaning, that unlike other brands where the TP rolls come wrapped-up in plastic, Macral toilet paper rolls are Individually wrapped by paper.
This zero-waste toilet paper company has been around since the 1930s and was one of the first organizations in America to “Go green” and look for more sustainable ways of manufacturing paper products. Today Macal toilet paper company saves more than 2.4 million trees annually by using solely recycled paper.
The product is pretty great by itself. Marcal 2-ply 100% recycled toilet paper is not only soft and septic safe but its also highly absorbent. The recycled paper is whitened without chemicals containing chlorine bleach, dyes, or fragrances. Plus its virtually Lint-Free. The bath tissue has met and exceeded EPA guidelines, and it’s Green Seal certified.
Marcal is also a great choice for those that want to make a change not just at home but also in the workplace. Hence, they provide sustainable toilet paper supplies for different business segments, such as healthcare and hospitality. All of the products that they manufacture are free from harsh chemicals and dyes.
Who Gives A Crap was founded in 2012 by a few entrepreneurs. It all started with the realization that up to 40% of the world’s population doesn’t have access to a toilet (!) which is the cause of many deaths and suffering due to diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation.
They started producing toilet paper without plastic packaging made entirely of recycled paper. And as part of their social policy, they donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.
Who Gives A Crap has donated to a range of organizations such as WaterAid Australia, Sanergy, Lwala Community Alliance, and Shining Hope For Communities.
The toilet paper itself is made of a 3-ply 100% recycled paper or from a forest-friendly bamboo paper. Either way, the TP rolls are individually wrapped in a paper cover so you’re getting a plastic-free toilet paper. Reviewers say the product is soft and nice to use. If you live in the US, Australia or the UK they will deliver to your doorstep, and if you’re not happy with the product they offer a 100% money-back refund guarantee.
Reel is an amazing company. They produce a zero-waste toilet paper with a mission. Their mission is to help as many people in the world to have access to clean toilets. They do so by donating a portion of their revenue to organizations that operate for that cause in developing countries. This mission is extremely important as the poor access to clean toilets around the world is leading to deaths and suffering due to diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation.
Reel toilet paper are also partners with SOIL; An organization that has been transforming waste into useful resources and giving people access to clean toilets in Haiti. So if you’re buying from Reel, pare of your money goes to a very noble cause.
Reel toilet paper is made of bamboo, which is considered way more eco-friendly than using trees. Bamboo (a type of grass) grows much faster than trees, regenerates by itself, takes less water and less space and its fibers are soft but strong fibers. It’s really a shame we’re only now starting to discover this material.
The paper itself is biodegradable yet very durable. It’s a 3-ply tree-free toilet paper with 300 sheets per roll. The packaging is plastic-free, so if you are trying to also reduce the consumption of plastic, this is a great brand to consider.
No. 2 bamboo toilet paper is a great example of forest-friendly bath tissue. It’s made of 100% Bamboo toilet paper, it’s packed with 100% Recycled paper (plastic-free) and it’s certified by FSC.org.
No.2 toilet paper is a high-end bamboo product with a few advantages over its competitors. First of all, the manufacture takes great pride in the toilet paper silkiness, it says it has a unique feeling to it. Smooth yet strong, for the perfect user experience. Their official website also claims their leaves a lot less lint on the skin.
Another very cool feature of No. 2 bamboo toilet paper is the design of the packaging. Not only the rolls are individually wrapped by paper, but each roll also has its own unique, funky design.
This is a great purchase if you’re in the market for a tree-free bamboo bath tissue and also if you would like to add some colors to your toilet rolls shelf.
Types Of Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper
As you’ll soon realize, there’s more than one way to go green when it comes to toilet paper. With more than one type of eco-friendly toilet paper, you will have to make the choice most suitable for your needs, budget, and preferences. In the list below I tried to mention all the environment-relevant types of toilet paper. If you think I missed something please let me know down at the comments section!
- Organic Toilet paper
- Bleached / non-bleached toilet paper
- Plastic-free toilet paper (zero-waste)
- Biodegradable toilet paper
- Recycled Toilet paper
- Post-consumer recycled toilet paper (PCR)
- Bamboo toilet paper
- Tree-free toilet paper
- Forest-friendly toilet paper
- Plant a tree toilet paper
- Paper wrapped toilet paper
- 1-ply / 2-ply / 3-ply toilet paper
- Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper (RV safe/ Marine safe)
Organic Toilet paper
In green marketing, the word “organic” is always a bit tricky. On the one hand, there’s a clear meaning to ‘organic’ which I will talk about in a second. And on the other hand, many consumers consider ‘Organic’ simply as ‘Natural’ or ‘Eco-friendly’ In many cases marketing teams use this confusion around the term for what we call ‘Green washing’
So scientifically “organic” means a molecule that is built from the elements Carbon (C) and Hydrogen (H). The combination of these two atoms is the basis of every living creature on earth (Mammals, reptiles trees, bacteria, fungi, and so on).
So when saying “organic” we basically mean came from an organic source, or derived from a living thing.
When it comes to organic toilet paper, manufacturers usually mean that no chlorine bleach was added (to whiten the paper) and no dyes, inks or fragrances were added. These types of material are what is commonly called ‘Chemicals’ as they are not built from the elements Carbon (C) and Hydrogen (H).
Bleached / non-bleached toilet paper
We got used to toilet paper being white, but that’s not his natural form. The original color of the material depends on whether it’s made of bamboo, sugar-cane, recycled paper or trees (and what kind of trees).
To make it white or pink, like consumers like it, conventional bath tissue is being bleached by Chlorine and other added dyes. These chemicals are first of all bad for your health because they turn in to Dioxins and second of all bad for the environment because the factories later dump the leftover materials into our water sources and soils.
So looking for “non-bleached” is an important part of choosing an eco-friendly toilet paper. Earth-friendly manufacturers are also ‘whitening’ their toilet paper in unnatural ways but at least they use more environment-friendly methods, and they dispose from the materials responsibly.
Examples of non-bleached toilet paper:
Plastic-free toilet paper (zero-waste)
We’re used to our paper rolls to be wrapped in thick plastic, but is it still necessary?
They started packing toilet paper in plastic to keep it from getting wet or dusty during delivery and storage. But today, when we can order a 48-rolls pack right to our doorstep, why do we need all of this plastic? We don’t. And some companies are doing just that – making plastic-free toilet paper.
These manufacturers are delivering 100% plastic-free zero waste toilet paper, they individually wrap the rolls with (recyclable) paper covers, put them in a (recyclable) paper box, and that’s how you get a zero-waste toilet paper!
The environmental effects of plastic are already well-known, we should do our best to avoid it whenever we can. Especially with products like toilet paper when it’s no longer necessary.
Biodegradable toilet paper
When we say about a certain material that it’s “biodegradable” we mean that it will be decomposed by a natural biological process, meaning that in the right terms (oxygen and sunlight) fungi, bacteria, and other micro-organisms will dissolve the product.
Paper products in general, are all biodegradable, made of tree pulp, bamboo, or sugar cane. All are natural materials that will surely break down in a biological process. The problem is when we add chemicals to paper products that are not biodegradable. Such products are Chlorine, dyes, fragrances, and more. Moreover, some products are wrapped in plastic that might be recyclable but not biodegradable.
So to make sure the toilet paper you’re getting is 100% biodegradable you should look for a TP brand that is organic (Chlorine, dyes, fragrances – free) and plastic-free.
Recycled Toilet paper
We’re starting to see more TP brands using recycled toilet paper. If not as their main material, at least a part of their mix. They take recycled paper through a process of cleaning, softening, and whitening to turn into recycled toilet paper.
It’s important to understand that “recycled toilet paper” is a broad definition that includes two types of paper. One type is the leftover papers that came from the factories’ manufacturing process and are being reused. The other type is papers that come from the end-user after he used it once and recycled it in his home or office, otherwise known as PCR – Post-Consumer Recycled.
Using recycled paper is definitely better than cutting down virgin trees for tree pulp. But we must remember that the recycling process also has a toll on the environment. It requires the use of chemicals and the process takes quite a lot of energy. This is why many people argue that bamboo toilet paper is more eco-friendly than recycled paper (bamboo grows much faster than trees and requires fewer resources).
Note that some people claim recycled paper to be less soft and smooth to touch compared to regular toilet paper.
Post-consumer recycled toilet paper (PCR)
As stated above, post-consumer recycled toilet paper is the kind of paper that comes from recycled paper we all recycle at our homes and offices. Some companies will state that their products are “100% recycled and 40% post-consumer recycled”
It means 40% of the product came from the end consumer, the other parts came from factories left-overs.
Examples of post-consumer recycled toilet paper:
Bamboo toilet paper
It’s only in recent years we witness the rise of disposable bamboo products. And it’s a great trend.
Bamboo has (a type of grass) has a lot of advantages over trees for making products like toilet paper, tissue, disposable cutlery, paper towels napkins, and more.
Bamboo toilet paper advantages:
Grows super fast
Actually, it’s the fastest-growing plant known to man. According to Guinness book of records, Bamboo can grow UP TO 91 cm (35 in) per day.
Bamboo forests reach maturity in 5-7 years and can be harvested every year due to their abilities to regenerate. Unlike trees that typically are harvested after 30 years and once cut, do not regenerates.
Requires less water
Bamboo is considered very efficient in using the moisture in the ground through its roots network. It is estimated that bamboo uses 30% less water than hardwood trees.
Requires less land – bamboo roots grow in very high density, meaning you can harvest more raw material per square foot.
All of the qualities of bamboo mentioned above are setting bamboo as the future of toilet paper. Many are also claiming it to be a more eco-friendly choice than recycled toilet paper.
Tree-free toilet paper
“Tree-free” is to describe products that are made of 0% trees. Due to their positive environmental impact on our life and the habitat they are for so many types of life, we must preserve our trees and plant more than we take down.
Are toilet papers made of recycled paper tree-free? they’re made of trees but they don’t directly take down trees.
In my opinion, to be considered tree-free, a company must not be using paper made of trees in their products. This leaves us with toilet papers made of bamboo or sugar cane, which are not trees but a type of grass.
Forest-friendly toilet paper
“Forest friendly” is another vague term that tends to be misunderstood when buying eco-friendly toilet paper.
Unlike “tree-free” this term refers to companies that do cut down trees but do it in a sustainable manner, contribute to planting more trees, and not hurting forest areas that are endangered.
A few alliances are certifying the use of this term:
Examples of forest-friendly toilet paper:
The toilet paper is made from 100% recycled material and the packaging is 100% recyclable
Certification: FSC and Rain forest alliance
The company is using trees that are from sustainable areas and plants 3 trees for each one used.
Certification: Sustainable forestry initiative
Plant a tree toilet paper
Companies like Aria that we mentioned above are using their revenue for also planting trees. Aria for example is planting 3 trees for each one used. While it sounds a lot, we must remember that not all trees planted will reach maturity. Diseases, small animals, lack of water, or light sources, are limiting the chances of a tree to reach maturity to about 50%. Moreover, a tree takes 30 years on average to reach maturity and be ready to be cut down.
Toilet paper companies planting trees out of their own pockets are better than companies that don’t. But I’m afraid in most cases it is still not the perfect sustainable solution.
Paper wrapped toilet paper
The majority of TP companies are still packing their toilet rolls in plastic. For those of us looking reduce plastic waste, that’s a big turn-off.
Exactly for that reason, eco-friendly toilet paper brands came up with paper wrapped toilet papers without any plastic what so ever. They individually wrap the toilet paper rolls inside a recyclable paper sheet. That’s it. The toilet paper is plastic-free. And zero-waste, since all the packaging material is recyclable.
1-ply / 2-ply / 3-ply toilet paper
I know thisis pretty basic, but in case some of us are out of the loop.
The number before the “ply” stands for how many layers are stuck together to make a whole. Some people prefer a 3-ply toilet paper because they are much less likely to tear down. Others say the 3-ply is too thick and they prefer 2-ply toilet paper.
If you put comfort aside, and think about the environmental aspect, the goal should be using only what you need and creating minimum waste. Having said that, don’t get 1-ply toilet paper that will run out in 2 days. If a roll of 2-ply can last longer it might be the better choice.
Some argue that 3-ply is much more eco-friendly toilet paper than others because you can “get more done” with each wipe and the delivery environmental impact is the same. Who Gives A Crap manufactures jumbo rolls that have 400 sheets per roll. Each sheet is 3-ply.
Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper (RV safe/ Marine safe)
This kind of toilet paper is crucial for people living on boats, RVs, planes, buses, have a septic tank, or just poor plumbing system with old pipes.
Fast dissolving toilet paper dissolves much faster than conventional bath tissue. It’s designed to break down to fibers the minute it comes in contact with water. That way it doesn’t clog the pipes.
People living on boats flush their toilets into the ocean or rivers. Marine safe toilet papers are designed to not hurt marine life when it happenes. Marine life safe toilet paper must be organic, and chemicals free To not hurt the organisems living under sea.
Examples of Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper:
The environmental impact of non-eco friendly toilet Paper
Why choose an eco-friendly toilet paper brand over a popular brand? Let’s talk about why is it even important to make that change. What are the factors that make the toilet paper industry in need for a big green change. If you want me to mention more environmental impacts let me know in the comments section.
While I get why some products like food, liquids, and medicines are still packed in plastic for sanitation reasons. I don’t see a reason to pack toilet paper in plastic. We do it just out of convenience. Especially in the era we live in, where the shipping process is clean and fast and you can get the toilet paper right to your door step. Lucy, plastic-free packaging of toilet paper solves that problem perfectly.
Chlorine, dyes, inks and fragrances
Non-eco-friendly toilet paper companies are using an immense amount of chemicals on their products. Chlorine is used to whiten the paper and soften it. Fragrances are used to make it smell nice. Not only these chemicals are bad for our bodies and can cause rashes or worst. We don’t need it. We can get alone just fine with a toilet paper that is not white or pink and doesn’t smell like flowers. The same chemicals end up in our rivers and soils.
Still today, most of the wood pulp used for the toilet paper industry arrives from virgin forests. Old trees are being taken down for the single cause of toilet paper. Here is an interesting article about how some companies are using the North America forests for their toilet paper operations.
The process of turning wood pulp into a beautiful white toilet paper roll is highly energy-consuming. It takes a lot of water and electricity, and it’s emitting a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. Even when we talk about recycled toilet paper, it’s still a complicated process that requires a lot energy and costing us a too much carbon.
For now the better solution is getting a bamboo toilet paper. The process of manufacturing bamboo toilet paper is considered to have a smaller carbon footprint.
Bidet vs. Eco friendly Toilet Paper
This argument is probably on someone’s mind on all of the continents. Those in favor of bidets argue that if you step on dog poop while walking barefoot, you probably won’t use just wipes to clean off the mess. You will most likely use water. Whereas the people that like toilet paper say “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
Many Americans grew up using solely toilet paper to clean their buts. Unlike people from Europe, East Asia, and South-East Asia who grew up with some kind of water source besides the toilet paper for cleaning themselves.
But we’re not only talking about comfort here, we talk about sustainability. And the truth is that installing a bidet in your eco-friendly bathroom is the better option for the environment.
By the way, a bidet doesn’t have to be this big. It can also be a little hose attached to your water pipes like these ones.
Examples of bidets:
Studies say that Americans use up to 35 billion rolls of toilet paper each year. It’s the equivalent of up to 15 million trees. By using a bidet, you’re not hurting any tree (or bamboo for that matter).
Additionally, to make this amount of conventional toilet paper rolls factories are using more than 400,000,000,000 gallons of water and more than 250,000 tons of chlorine. The amount of water used to make toilet paper is heartbreaking when you think about the fact that some communities around the world don’t even have clean water for drinking.
By making the transition from toilet paper to a bidet you save water, trees, chemical pollution and carbon footprint.
Which eco friendly toilet paper to choose?
As I said earlier, you will have to make the choice most suitable for your needs, budget, and preferences. Each one of the products I mentioned in the beginning of the articles is a good eco-friendly choice. In case you’re still confused I will try to give you some directions.
Best overall – In my opinion, seventh-generation bath tissue is the most sustainable brand on our list. The paper is from 100% recycled paper, the packaging is 100% recyclable, and no dyes inks or chlorine are used in the process. Moreover, the brand has a very sustainable policy where they make sure their entire process is eco-friendly as can be and also very transparent to the public eye. Additionally, this is the kind of brand to treat his employees in a responsible manner.
Bamboo – To avoid the negative affects wood pulp toilet paper has on the environment, bamboo toilet paper is a great choice. It takes less water, less land, and less energy to grow plus it regenerates itself in just 5-7 years (unlike trees that take 30 years on average). If you’re going with bamboo, Caboo tree-free toilet paper is a great choice.
Help others – If you haven’t locked down on one specific brand yet, you should consider a brand that shares it’s profits with those in need. Such a brand is Reel. Not only they produce a great eco-friendly toilet paper from bamboo. But they also give a part of their revenue to organizations in developing countries that are helping more people have access to clean toilets. A big cause of deaths and diseases in developing countries is diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. Clean toilet access can solve that. So it’s a great cause to be a part of.
Plastic-free – The thick plastic packaging around toilet paper is something we can slowly let go off. If you agree and wish to keep your plastic footprint as low as possible, consider getting a plastic-free toilet brand. One great option is Macral toilet paper. Their toilet paper is eco friendly (100% recycled, 65% post-consumer) and their rolls are individually wrapped in a paper sheet. Completely plastic-free and also zero-waste!
Rapid dissolving – If you happen to live or travel in a boat, RV, plane, or a bus, or if you have a septic tank, or just poor plumbing system with old pipes – You need a toilet paper that is fast to dissolve. One good example of such product is Scott Rapid Dissolving Toilet Paper. This brand is almost unanimously the best tissue brand for problematic plumbing.
Eco-friendly toilet paper – Final Thoughts
I hope my informative guide provided you with the information about eco-friendly toilet paper that you were looking for. If you feel like I missed something, or you have a question, please let me know about it in the comments section.
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