Buying This Type Of Toilet Paper Could Help Save Thousands Of Trees

The best eco-friendly toilet papers in 2019

Image by mbg Creative

When you think about how you can take steps to lighten your environmental impact, you might consider things like declining plastic straws, composting your veggie scraps, biking to work, ditching your traditional shampoo for a shampoo bar, or bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store. But you probably haven't given a whole lot of thought to switching up your toilet paper. After all, you kind of have to use it (unless you're into the whole bidet thing), and you might assume—like many people do—that it's all pretty much the same. 

But the truth is, our use of conventional toilet paper is contributing to deforestation, according to a recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). That's because the bulk of toilet paper sold and used in the United States is not made from sustainable or recycled materials but instead from virgin wood pulp that comes from centuries-old trees grown in the Canadian boreal forest. (Worldwide, it's estimated that the equivalent of about 27,000 trees are flushed down the toilet or tossed in the trash every day in the form of conventional TP.)

Why is this so bad? For one, it can exacerbate the effects of climate change. According to the report, when the boreal forest is degraded from logging, "its capacity to continue sequestering carbon significantly declines and releases into the atmosphere carbon that had been locked up in the trees and soils." Additionally, logging these forests strips indigenous communities (over 600 of them) and wildlife (such as caribou, pine marten, and loads of songbirds) of their natural habitats.

So what's a good alternative? In addition to any TP made with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled materials, bamboo-based bath tissue is a great choice. Unlike trees, which can take 30 years to grow back and mature, bamboo can grow back (with no need for replanting) within months and is ready to be harvested again within a year or two.

Here, five highly rated bamboo toilet paper brands that will lighten your environmental impact—some of which also have pretty impressive philanthropic efforts (and look really great in your bathroom). Pro tip: Subscribe for monthly delivery so you never end up stranded.

No. 2

Hands down, No. 2 has the prettiest recycled paper packaging we've ever seen, and you can pick from a number of different soy-ink-based patterns to match your bathroom's decor ("In Full Bloom" is our top pick). Beyond aesthetics, though, we love that No. 2 is ultra-smooth and made from bamboo that's certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Subscribe and save on No. 2's website.

Who Gives a Crap

In addition to being made with 100% forest-friendly bamboo, the rolls from this Aussie brand were specifically crafted to be super soft. Meaning, they don't feel thin or scratchy, like some eco TPs on the market. Huge added bonus: The company donates a whopping 50% of profits to help build toilets for those in need around the world (roughly 40% of the world's population doesn't have access to toilets). Subscribe and save on Who Gives a Crap's website.

Caboo

Although it's available via subscription on Amazon, Caboo is one of the few bamboo toilet paper brands you'll actually find at grocery stores like Whole Foods Market. These rolls are made with a combo of bamboo and sustainable sugar-cane pulp—the dry, fibrous residue that remains after the extraction of juice from the crushed sugar-cane stalk.

Bim Bam Boo

We love Bim Bam Boo for a couple of reasons. One, it's made with FSC-certified sustainably sourced bamboo. Two, it's made with women in mind, as it's free of harsh ingredients often used to make conventional TP such as formaldehyde and chlorine bleach, both of which can disrupt vaginal pH and up your risk for UTIs and other infections. It doesn't leave behind any linty residue either (dubbed "clitty litter" by the brand), which can often lead to irritation. Subscribe and save on Amazon.

Pure Planet

Like Caboo, Pure Planet's toilet paper is made from the waste materials of both bamboo and sugar cane. The company also goes out of its way to be completely plastic-free, even its packaging materials, which are made from eco-friendly recycled (and recyclable) cardboard. Subscribe and save on Amazon or Pure Planet.

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