Action 087: Buy loo-roll made from recycled paper in plastic free packaging

Recycled toilet paperDate: 28 March
Action: 087
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL


Toilet paper is the most obvious thing to use recycled paper pulp for

Today’s action is a simple one, we are asking you to change your toilet paper brand.

This article is based on one in The Sun from March 2020 and one in Sustainability Matters in May 2020.

Why use recyclable toilet paper?

The toilet paper isn’t the most eco-friendly!

To make our “normal” toilet paper trees are cut down to be used as raw materials. The actual types may vary but in general, toilet paper is a combination of about 70% hardwood and 30% softwood. Softwoods give long and malleable fibres that contribute to the overall strength of the roll, hardwoods give shorter fibres for softness.

Trees are debarked and chipped, and then passed to a giant cooker where they’re mixed with a bunch of chemicals.

After several hours of heating the wood chips should become a malleable slurry called wood pulp. To get rid of all the chemicals and any other residues, the pulp goes through a multi-stage washer system.

In order to produce the conventional white paper, a significant amount of bleach is then added, followed by rewashing to get rid of the remaining bleach.

The pulp then passes through different machines that spread, dry, and roll it to its final shipping form.

So from this we can see the benefits of using recycled toilet paper:

  • Saves trees – perhaps as many as 27,000 each day
  • Helps to reduce deforestation and preserve precious biodiversity
  • Reduces unethical practices in forestry such as clear-cutting or impacting on local communities
  • Uses much less water; the production of virgin pulp uses almost twice as much water as recycled material
  • Less use of chemicals and bleach
  • Reduces landfill volume by enabling the use of lower quality paper waste
  • Does the job just as well, and can be just as soft
  • Weaker fibres in recycled paper makes disposal in our sewerage systems safer and easier
  • Many companies making recycled products distribute profits to good causes

What brands can you use?

Loo paper – considering it’s a use-once-and-chuck product, it’s not very sustainable, from its plastic packaging to the trees cut down to create it.

Look out for these brands of recycled toilet paper, which minimises environmental impact and feels soft when you wipe.

  • Who Gives A Crap recycled toilet paper: paper with a strong social conscience – 50 per cent off all profits go to funding sanitation projects around the world – it’s no surprise Who Gives A Crap is a leader in its field.
  • The Cheeky Panda Bamboo Toilet Roll: made from sustainable bamboo
  • Waitrose ECOlogical Toilet Tissue: Supermarket brand with value for money yet still
  • EcoLeaf toilet tissue: made from over 60 per cent post-consumer
  • Renova recycled toilet paper: in recyclable paper packaging

There are many more, look out for them on your supermarket shelves and by searching online.

Ideally, the packaging used for your toilet paper will be non-plastic too. Other things to look out for are notes on the labels about the use of bleaches, and notes about the amount of virgin wood pulp that might be being added to strengthen the roll.

Action 087 … it’s another no-brainer really!