We talk a good deal about the lack of sustainability in paper production, but the reality is that we have barely scratched the surface in terms of how many industries it impacts. It has been referred to as the forest to toilet pipeline. The supply chain that causes tens of thousands of trees to be cut down every day to make toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissue, and baby wipes.
How can something as small as toilet paper cause that much devastation? When you think about fast-moving consumer products like this, it’s something that is used every day in almost every household in the United States.
So you know all of this and you want to be more eco-friendly in your choices, then you have come to the right place. We will take you through a list here of some eco-friendly alternatives to traditional toilet paper - from the common, easy ones - all the way to some more unconventional tactics.
Different Culture’s Toilet Paper Alternatives
You may have experienced a culture shock during your visit to one of these continents. After all, the toilet roll isn't something that is used universally around the world. There are different methods for cleaning that have not caught on here in the states. Let’s take a look at toilet paper alternatives in different countries or cultures.
In most western European countries, you will find bidets as the primary cleaning tactic. Many will include toilet paper options as well, being the closest to US habits throughout the world.
In most Asian countries, you will likely find a water alternative - such as a bidet or other water options. Some cases might clean off with a shower or a water source for a quick rinse.
Similar to Asia, many African countries will use water alternatives to toilet paper.
5 Best Toilet Paper Alternatives to Choose From
#1 Tree- free toilet paper
Tree-free toilet paper is going to be the easiest switch for many that are used to traditional toilet paper. This option uses alternative fibers such as bamboo toilet paper or recycled paper, but can still be a quality toilet paper that you can trust to do the job. However, be sure to check reviews of the product before buying. Some tree-free alternatives are not a premium toilet roll and can be a not so great transition from what you are used to.
Bidets are probably the second most popular alternative to traditional toilet paper. This is going to be a slight change in routine and practice, but it is a very common practice in many parts of the world. Depending on what type of setup you go with, adding a bidet to your bathroom can become very expensive. But there are also cheaper options like ones that you can attach to an existing toilet that can work.
#3 Reusable toilet paper
The third option on the list would be switching to reusable toilet paper options, such as cloths or old clothing that you have upcycled into little toilet paper squares. This option is a big step in terms of changing your habits in the bathroom, but the reality is that it significantly cuts down on your impact in exchange for traditional toilet paper. Reusable diapers are much more widely accepted, so why not reusable toilet paper? For this one - the main hurdle is really creating the system for cleaning and care for the wipes. Once you have that set up and outlined, it is a pretty low cost and low impact habit to introduce.
#4 Paper Scraps
Historically, things like newspapers and phone books have been used as toilet paper when you’re in a pinch. These serve as cost effective alternatives, and are strangely an upcycling feat of their own. That being said, if it is something like a newspaper or magazine, it might have ink or other chemicals on it, so we wouldn’t recommend using it for toilet paper. However, if you have paper scraps around your house or office, any piece of paper that haven’t been marked up could be a toilet paper alternative.
Now we’re thinking outside the box with unconventional tactics. That being said, if you were out in nature and had to go, leaves would likely be your first option or the first thing you look at. On the positive side, if you get a few cheap plants for this - they will likely be a very cost effective alternative and help improve the overall decor of your bathroom visually. On the other hand, we would not recommend flushing any leaves down your pipes without speaking with your local plumber beforehand.
Make Real Sustainability Changes With Reel Paper
If you can’t stop using toilet paper completely, then consider the thickness of the toilet paper. The next time you go shopping, decide whether you would go for 1 ply vs 2 ply toilet paper. You may also want to consider buying bulk toilet paper, so that you need to purchase less often, which saves on packaging. What’s more important is incorporating more sustainable habits in your lifestyle
For instance, if you have a baby, instead of buying regular diapers, consider washable cloth diapers. When you're sick, try using eco friendly tissues. And when you clean your kitchen top, table, or any other flat surface at home, use recycled paper towels made of 100% recycled paper. Feel confident in your sustainable switches by shopping our tree-free paper products that combat deforestation by reusing existing paper material and tree alternatives like bamboo.