On my journey into living a more zero waste lifestyle, I discovered a pretty startling fact about toilet paper. Though I’ve said it a few times already in other posts, it really belongs at the start of this one: We cut down 27,000 trees everyday to make toilet paper.
This is such an outrageous stat, that even though I learned it last year, it still partially breaks my brain whenever I think about it.
Seriously, think about it: it takes a long time for a tree to fully grow. Sometimes it takes 40, 50 or hell, even 100 years – an entire lifetime for them to reach their peaks, and what do we do with them? Cut them down, only to use them in something we use 1 time, and then immediately discard.
Call me crazy, but if I worked 40 years (or longer) on something, and then had to watch someone tear it down just to turn it into something they immediately threw away, I’d be pretty upset.
So, what are we to do? The obvious answer would be to just stop making toilet paper. But then there’s the issue of what we use instead. Sure, bidets are a thing, but I don’t think they’re for everybody.
And what other solutions are there, if someone doesn’t want to try a bidet? They could shower after every time they use the bathroom, so that they’re clean, but that would be highly impractical, and, not to mention, a huge waste in water.
So, what else is there to do?
The other solution is to start making toilet paper out of something else.
Sounds crazy, right? Well, thankfully, it’s not! Some companies are already doing this. Like the company I’m going to be talking about today: Who Gives a Crap.
Aptly named for a company who’s main focus is toilet paper, they have an amazing solution to our paper-y woes. Their toilet paper is made either out of bamboo, or recycled paper.
“But Ater, isn’t cutting down bamboo just as bad as cutting down a tree?” That’s a great question! It wouldn’t be much of a solution if we were just depleting something else, would it? Well, thankfully, bamboo is a type of grass, so it grows back quickly – much more quickly than a tree would, which makes it a great substitute to regular paper tp.
I know what you must be thinking, how in the heck would bamboo toilet paper even work? Isn’t bamboo just for aesthetic looking wood furniture? Nope, it’s not. It can be turned into paper, and other materials, too!
It does have a different feel than paper toilet paper, but it’s nothing too jarring, I promise!
Take a look here:
Here is a roll of WGAC’s bamboo toilet paper (on the left), next to a roll of Charmin Extra Strong. (Charmin was the toilet paper I was using before switching)
As you can see, the bamboo roll is slightly bigger in size, and the cardboard roll it comes on is smaller, so you get more toilet paper per roll. You may also be able to tell, that the bamboo roll looks firmer/stiffer than the regular paper one.
This is a close-up of the bamboo’s texture. It is pretty comparable to a paper towel, one side is bumpy and slightly rough, and the other is softer, but still firm. The firmness makes it great at, erm… doing what toilet paper is meant to do, and it doesn’t disintegrate as you use it, unlike some other softer products.
This is actually something I noticed that happened with their recycled paper toilet paper. It still has one rough-ish side, and one softer side, but the softer side is way softer than the bamboo – it’s actually the same softness as the Charmin roll. Which makes sense, since the recycled one is still made out of paper. For me, personally, I value structural integrity over super softness, so I’ll be sticking with their bamboo paper from now on. (Once I finish the recycled rolls, of course)
If you’re still undecided, you can always get a box of both, and see which one you like better. They only sell their toilet paper in boxes of 24 or 48 rolls, so unfortunately if you end up not liking one of them, you’ll have a lot of them to get through.
But, you could always gift some of the rolls to people you know, or use them as emergency rolls if you run out of the other kind.
Switching was also super easy. Like, ridiculously so. I just placed my order online and waited for it to show up. Then, once it got here (and I sprayed it with isopropyl alcohol to sanitize), I found a spot to put the box, and used as normal.
If you’re thinking of switching (which I highly recommend), I would warn you to order before you’re in desperate need of replacement toilet paper. Both my orders (bamboo and recycled) arrived in 14 days. So, y’know, make sure you have enough toilet paper to cover that waiting period, or longer, depending on where you’re located.
My first order, which was the 24 box of the bamboo rolls, was $55.79 CAD ($42 USD) because I had to get it from the US site. (Their Canadian site didn’t exist then) When I placed my order for the recycled paper (another 24 box), it was only $47.46 CAD, because I was able to get it from the Canadian site.
That may seem like a pretty steep price to some people, but it’s definitely worth the bit of extra cost in my eyes. Not only are you buying a premium, non-tree-killing toilet paper, but 50% of their profits go to help build toilets for people in need.
How cool is that?
You’re helping make someone else’s life more hygienic and better, just by simply buying an essential!
Also, if you only need to buy toilet paper twice a year, the price is actually less all together than it would be if you were, say, buying it every month. It’s a bigger price at once, but over-all it should actually be cheaper.
Unless you’re getting your toilet paper from Dollarama or something, in which case I beg you to stop doing that to yourself and test out these guys. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Not only is this company helping to save the planet, and help people in need, but they also individually wrap their rolls, so that they are also plastic free!
This is the wrapping on the bamboo rolls.
These are the wrappers on the recycled paper rolls.
Not only does the wrapping make the rolls pretty to look at, but you can also re-use it for crafts, projects, or even to wrap presents!
Who Gives a Crap is hands down one of the best companies I’ve ever found, and I seriously cannot recommend them enough!
If your toilet paper situation is fine, or you still have reservations about going paperless, they do sell a few other paperless replacements, like tissues or paper towels. You could always try testing those out first, and then move on to the more ‘intimate’ product later.
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