Eco-friendly toilet paper is a sustainable alternative to traditional toilet paper. But is it all good? Read on to learn the pros and cons.
Traditional toilet paper has a huge impact on the environment. Not only is this single-use paper product flushed away after just one use, but it causes much of North America’s deforestation crisis. Is eco-friendly toilet paper the solution?
Canada’s boreal forest is the primary producer of America’s toilet paper, providing the virgin pulp used to make it. Every year, more and more of this forest is cut down to meet demand. Unfortunately, the boreal forest is a vital carbon sink. Every year that logging there continues, the boreal forest releases around 26 million metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Not only does deforestation for toilet paper production contribute significantly to climate change, but the logging of forested land is also extremely harmful to biodiversity. Animals and plants suffer gravely from their habitats being destroyed for toilet paper.
What is Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper?
Given the environmental impact of traditional toilet paper, initiatives are being taken to introduce eco-friendly alternatives. Eco-friendly options typically come in either recycled or bamboo versions.
Recycled toilet paper is made from recycled paper, usually from newspapers or office paper. Meanwhile, bamboo toilet paper is an option that doesn’t require cutting down trees at all. It uses bamboo as a raw material, which can be grown much faster than wood.
Several environmentally savvy toilet tissue brands are making themselves known in the US. Check them out in our article on the 8 Best Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper Brands.
These eco-friendly toilet paper choices do not require the felling of more trees and natural forest areas. Read on to learn the pros and cons.
- Eco-friendly toilet paper uses and recycles paper products that would otherwise be thrown away as waste.
- It reduces the need for logging and, therefore, deforestation.
- The manufacturing process of making eco-friendly toilet paper is less energy-intensive and requires less water than toilet paper made using virgin pulp.
- Bamboo toilet paper is biodegradable and breaks down entirely once disposed of, reducing single-use waste.
- Plants like bamboo require little water to grow, mature quickly and do not require fertilizers. That makes them a sustainable option for production and manufacturing.
- Bamboo forests also act as vital environments of carbon sequestration, absorbing larger quantities of carbon than tree forests.
- The production of recycled toilet paper requires chemicals and bleach to break down the existing paper products and turn them into toilet paper. These chemicals are harmful to consumers and the environment.
- Using recycled toilet paper does not eliminate the need for paper altogether, so deforestation remains an issue.
- China is the largest producer of bamboo, meaning most bamboo toilet tissue is sourced from overseas. Therefore, we must take carbon emissions from transportation into account.
- Generally, eco-friendly toilet paper is more expensive.
- Some people consider the sustainable options available on the market to be a little scratchy and less comfortable to use than regular toilet paper.
Is Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper Worth It?
All in all, it seems like eco-friendly toilet paper is still in its early stages in terms of comfort (softness) and availability. It is certainly a good choice for our forests, but this advantage should be weighed carefully against the carbon emissions necessary to import bamboo-based toilet paper from the other side of the planet.
If you have the option, recycled toilet paper made in the US (or Canada) is the best option for the environment.
- How Paper Is Recycled: The Process, Explained
- Zero Waste Bathroom: Tips for Using Less Plastic
- Is Paper Biodegradable? It Depends
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