Toilet paper is one of those things I just can’t see us doing without in today’s world. Unfortunately most toilet paper on the market is made from virgin paper, which means it is straight from trees and does not have recycled content. Fortunately there are a number of good options for recycled toilet paper available in your supermarket and online. We recommend that you buy a small quantity to try it out before buying in bulk. You can get a 4 pack or even a single roll in many supermarkets. (Often you can find a coupon making a small quantity close to free.) A couple things to look for to make it greener are:
- High percentage post-consumer recycled content (75% or better is good)
- A non-chlorine bleach whitening process
As a bonus many recycled toilet papers are hypo-allergenic for sensitive types like me.
GreenPeace.org has rated 33 popular brands of toilet paper (and a bunch of other paper products) based on the % post consumer recycled content, overall % recycled content and the bleaching process in their Tissue Guide. (Hint: to view the full guide click on the upper right corner of the big picture in the center of the page, where it says “Look Inside -> click here”) They even have it available as an iPhone app.
Ten brands make the “green” list and include some names you might not expect, like CVS. Be careful though, because while the Earth Essentials brand of CVS makes the recommended list, the regular CVS brand is on the bad list.
We use the Seventh Generation 2-ply toilet paper in our house because of the reputation of the brand and because we are satisfied with the softness. We find it noticeably better than the last case of cheap stuff we bought from the wholesale club and better than the institutional paper used at my office. Besides, I don’t like the really soft stuff. We order ours through Amazon.com. Be sure to check out the “Subscribe & Save” program for an extra 15% discount. The toilet paper comes in recyclable cardboard box with paper wrapped rolls. Many brands of toilet paper come wrapped in layers of plastic that are also bad for the environment!
Impact of using recycled content toilet paper
To quote from the Seventh Generation package:
If every household in the U.S. replaced just one roll of 500 sheet virgin fiber bathoom tissue with 100% recycled ones, we could save:
- 423,900 trees
- 1.0 million cubic feet of landfill space, equal to 1,600 full garbage trucks
- 153 million gallons of water, a year’s supply for 1,200 families of four
Going even greener with toilet paper
For an added greeness factor, you can recycle the paper wrapper, (NOT the toilet paper – you wouldn’t want to after it is used) and reuse the toilet paper tubes for craft projects. The current favorite project around our house is to make toy binoculars. They tape two toilet paper rolls together and decorate it. One of our kids also made this project in Kindergarten recently, so if you don’t have kids of the right age at home, check with you local elementary school, as they might be able to reuse the empty rolls for some sort of project. If not, they too are recycleable.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, check out what options of recycled toilet paper are available to you and try out a roll or two.
p.s. We also use Seventh Generation Paper Towels, Natural, 2-Ply Sheets (Pack of 30) [Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging] for the messes that are too disgusting to use cloth napkins.