Since the dawn of humankind, people have been going to the bathroom and using various tools and methods to clean up once they’re done. Over the millennia, these tools have evolved into what we recognize as modern toilet paper. Today, many people are searching for the most environmentally friendly toilet paper options.
Sorting through all of the different types of toilet paper isn’t an easy task. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve answered some of your most pressing green TP questions like “What is the most environmentally friendly toilet paper?” and “What is the carbon footprint of bamboo toilet paper?”
Before you know it, you’ll be an expert in eco-friendly toilet tissue!
Here’s everything you need to know about your eco-friendly toilet paper options!
What Is the Most Environmentally Friendly Toilet Paper?
Once you’ve used the bathroom, there are tons of options for cleaning yourself up afterward. Bidets, reusable toilet rags, and even Roman tersoria are all potential solutions. Although these options are eco-friendly — since the only waste involved is human waste — most are often unhygienic and even uncomfortable.
Instead, many of us prefer to use good old toilet paper. However, not all of that soft, fluffy white stuff is created equal. Today, there are more brands of bath tissue than there are sheets on a roll. Each brand makes various claims about why their toilet paper is the softest, strongest, or most eco-friendly.
What is the most environmentally friendly toilet paper? Well, it really depends on what kind of toilet paper it is.
The Types of Toilet Tissue
When you search for toilet paper on Amazon, you’re met with more than 1,000 products to choose from. From scented toilet paper to commercial-size rolls and from colored rolls to sheets with faces on them, you can find it all. There’s even a vast assortment of recycled, bamboo, and other sustainable toilet tissue.
In order to determine which bath tissue is the most eco-friendly, we have to look at the processes and ingredients that go into making them.
Regular & Recycled Toilet Paper
In order to produce traditional toilet paper, manufacturers use pulp that comes directly from trees — called virgin pulp. Once a tree has been cut down, it’s bark is removed, chipped into small pieces, and pressure cooked until it becomes a pulp.
Once the pulp has formed, it’s strained, bleached, and dried to the preferred moisture level. After that, it’s perforated, rolled into a giant log, and cut for individual sale.
Recycled toilet paper is produced using recycled paper. At the start of the process, the material is dumped into a large tub of warm water and aerated to remove any lingering ink on the paper. It’s then bleached and sanitized.
After that, the process mimics the method used to strain and dry virgin pulp.
Decorative Toilet Paper
First appearing in the 1950s — when colorful bathrooms became popular — decorative and colorful toilet paper is still around today, although many brands have stopped making it.
The material it’s made out of — virgin or recycled pulp — will dictate how it’s produced. However, the dye used to color to the bath tissue contains color chemicals that can damage human skin. Additionally, the same chemicals are harmful to the environment.
Bamboo Toilet Paper
The production of bamboo toilet paper is similar to the production of virgin toilet paper. Despite the similarity, bamboo toilet paper comes wholly from bamboo trees.
Bamboo is one of the most readily available and easily renewable resources on the planet. This makes it the premier material to use in the making of environmentally toilet paper.
At the end of the day, there are basically two types of toilet paper competing to be the greenest. First, we have eco-friendly bamboo toilet paper, and then there’s toilet paper made out of recycled pulp.
Considering both types, which is greener — bamboo toilet paper or recycled toilet paper?
Which Is Greener — Bamboo Toilet Paper or Recycled Toilet Paper?
The two greenest toilet tissues are bamboo and recycled, but which is greener — bamboo toilet paper or recycled toilet paper? The simple answer is bamboo toilet paper. This bath tissue comes from highly-renewable bamboo trees, and it is both septic-safe and biodegradable!
How Recycled Toilet Paper Compares
Ultimately, recycled toilet paper still comes from trees. Trees that can take decades to grow yet only minutes to chop down. Although “recycled” is in the name, recycled toilet paper — along with paper plates, napkins, and towels — can’t actually be recycled. Once they’ve fulfilled their purpose, that’s it.
Furthermore, used paper products still make up recycled toilet paper. Some of those paper products contain inks and chemicals that are harmful to humans and the environment. Although the process removes most of these toxins, some still remain.
For example, credit card receipts made out of thermal paper are commonly recycled. However, thermal paper contains the chemical bisphenol-A (also known as BPA) which is known to have adverse effects on humans. When tested, some recycled toilet paper contained trace amounts of BPA.
When compared to decorative or virgin toilet paper, recycled toilet paper looks like a great option. Unfortunately, when it’s faced with bamboo toilet tissue, it doesn’t stand a chance.
What Is the Carbon Footprint of Bamboo Toilet Paper?
By far, bamboo toilet paper is the most environmentally friendly toilet paper on the market. Its ethical and sustainable sourcing of materials along with the biodegradability of bamboo products gives bamboo toilet paper a minimal carbon footprint.
Sustainably Sourced Bamboo
The bamboo tree is one of the most highly renewable resources on the planet. In fact, a single bamboo tree can grow to more than 25 feet in less than 23 days! That’s faster than any other plant on Earth.
That’s not the only thing that makes bamboo such a sustainable material, though. It is also able to grow strong and healthy without the use of fertilizers which enables its rapid growth rate. Additionally, bamboo doesn’t need huge amounts of water in order to grow.
For this reason, bamboo farmers are able to conserve water and prevent fertilizers from harming other native species — local wildlife, in particular.
Furthermore, bamboo does not need to be replanted once it’s been harvested. Removing canes spurs the growth process. Soon after, new canes begin to sprout from the base. The quick sprouting combined with the rapid growth rate of bamboo makes it an incredibly sustainable material for toilet paper and more!
A Soft, Strong, & Biodegradable Bath Tissue
As the material of choice for all types of products from toothbrushes to sustainable home decor, bamboo is a substance that is soft, strong, and wholly biodegradable. Whether it’s a solid bamboo toothbrush, a luxurious bamboo bathrobe, or a sheet of silky soft Reel Paper, it will naturally break down in no time at all.
Environmentally friendly materials that are also durable are hard to come by. Bamboo is unique because it provides an effective way to produce high-quality goods that are also good for the environment. For this reason, we trust it to take good care of our backsides as well as our planet.
How Does Bamboo Toilet Paper Impact Sewage Systems?
One of the worst feelings is when your toilet just won’t flush. What’s worse is when the bowl fills with more water instead of draining. Clogged toilets are no fun. If you suffer from constant toilet clogs, your toilet paper may be the cause.
Some types of toilet paper — especially ultra-soft, ultra-plush products — are simply too thick. Oftentimes large clumps of toilet paper get stuck in the pipes. If the paper is too thick, it won’t dissolve. As a result, it’ll back up the pipes and you’ll have to deal with an infuriating toilet clog.
Bamboo toilet paper, on the other hand, is entirely different. It offers a soft yet durable bathroom experience, and after you’re finished with it, it’s completely biodegradable and septic-safe.
Once it gets flushed, bamboo toilet paper quickly dissolves in the water. With biodegradable bath tissue, it’s far less likely that a wad of toilet paper will clog your pipes. In the event that a blockage does form, it will be short-lived as bamboo toilet paper will quickly dissolve under the growing water pressure.
Bamboo Toilet Paper in Your Life
Bamboo is the premier green production material. It’s being used in everything from the construction of earthquake-resistant buildings to the manufacturing of breathable bathrobes. It’s even being used to create eco-friendly toilet paper that’s durable, comfortable, and easily breaks down in the water.
Not only is it a great substance for producing toilet paper, but it’s also tremendously renewable. As the fastest growing plant on Earth, harvesting bamboo has little-to-no carbon footprint! In fact, one cane of bamboo can grow tall enough to harvest in under a month. It even begins to grow again without any outside influence.
Toilet paper can be harmful to the environment, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Bamboo toilet paper is leading the charge toward a cleaner, greener bathroom experience.
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