Biodegradable Toilet Paper
When we go about our daily rituals, there is often a lot on our minds. Perhaps we are thinking about what to make for dinner that night, a big project at work or school, or a fun engagement with friends that we are incredibly excited about.
In any case, while we go about our occasionally monotonous days, our impact on the environment may not always be at the top of the list — and that’s okay.
It can be difficult to prioritize our planet as well as everything else that we want to accomplish, and if you find this being the case for you, don’t be too hard on yourself. What truly matters is that we try, and even small changes can make a big difference.
Something as simple as changing up your bathroom supplies can be an easy way to practice a greener lifestyle.
The amount of bathroom tissue we use annually is staggering, meaning toilet paper choices may be more impactful than you might think. In the U.S., we regularly use 9.2 billion pounds of toilet tissue per year, equating to roughly 28 pounds per person per year.
Many of us will not stop using toilet paper any time soon (although bidets do provide a hygienic and sustainable alternative!). So, what can we do to minimize our harm to the environment? Let’s start with biodegradable toilet paper.
What Does Biodegradable Mean?
For something to be biodegradable, it must be able to break down into smaller pieces until bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms eventually consume it. More importantly, it cannot cause any harm to the environment as this natural process of degradation takes place.
Why Isn’t Conventional Toilet Paper Biodegradable?
This is where it can get a bit tricky because, in some ways, conventional toilet paper can be technically considered “biodegradable.” It technically can fulfill the criteria because it consists of natural ingredients such as wood pulp.
However, it takes a very long time for this kind of toilet paper to biodegrade (more on that in a bit). Meanwhile, biodegradable toilet paper is deliberately made to break down significantly faster, making it safe for any septic tank — and the planet!
How Do I Know If Something Is Biodegradable?
Something is biodegradable if it consists of natural resources that can be returned to the earth in a reasonable timeframe. If a product has not been treated with additional chemicals and microorganisms can break it down naturally over time without harming the planet, it is biodegradable.
How Long Does It Take for Toilet Paper To Biodegrade?
We would love to be able to tell you that conventional toilet paper isn’t too much of an issue environmentally speaking. Unfortunately, this is not the case — yet.
Many types of conventional toilet paper are treated with chemicals that can result in the product taking between one and three years to fully decompose and biodegrade. If this comes as a surprise to you, we understand. Allow us to explain.
The most common of the chemicals added to conventional toilet paper are chlorine bleach, which works to maintain the white color associated with most toilet paper.
Some products even contain artificial fragrances that cause irritation for both you and the planet. Both of these additives are largely unnecessary and do not provide any actual benefits beyond aesthetics.
Why Is Biodegradation Important?
Before we go any further, we should note why biodegradation is such a crucial alternative to our traditional means of disposal.
Biodegradation is important because it means fewer materials will end up polluting our oceans and landfills. Instead, the materials we use and dispose of can return to the earth without causing harm.
When our products either cannot or take many years to biodegrade, they add up and contribute to massive amounts of trash. Non-biodegradable waste just hangs around, emitting harmful greenhouse gasses that contribute to ozone layer degradation. When we make the switch to biodegradable options, the waste can actually break down on its own over time and get rid of itself.
What Are Some Biodegradable Toilet Paper Options?
Now that we have established the importance of using biodegradable and sustainable bathroom tissue, here are some of our suggestions of the best eco-friendly toilet paper manufacturers out there.
Seventh Generation offers an absorbent and comfortable two-ply bath tissue made out of 100% recycled paper. This bath tissue is composed of a minimum of 50% post-consumer recycled fibers, and the remaining 50% are recycled fibers from other sources. The toilet paper is still whitened to give you the quality you are used to, but this process does not involve chlorine bleach.
Whole Roll Organic Bamboo Toilet Paper
Made of bamboo, Whole Roll Organic Bamboo Toilet Paper is sustainable and helps support healthy skin. This toilet paper is as strong as three-ply rolls. Their bamboo grows 20 times faster than the trees typically used to make bath tissue, making this a renewable and worthy option.
Green Forest Toilet Paper
Green Forest Toilet Paper lives up to its name by ensuring that their products promote a healthy future for our environment. Their toilet paper is whitened without using chlorine, and all of their materials are made of 100% recycled paper. Even better, those materials are at least 90% post-consumer recycled. Even their cardboard cores are recycled and can be recycled again once you finish the roll.
Bippy’s bamboo toilet paper provides a solid and soft option that will leave you feeling clean every time. Bippy also provides another innovation in the world of toilet paper: one side of their toilet paper is specially formulated for cleaning, while the other is perfect for dabbing you completely dry.
Who Gives a Crap
This brand offers a toilet paper subscription that will send you new rolls right when you need them. Their products are plastic-free and sustainable, however, their contributions to the world around them go far beyond just that. Who Gives a Crap proves that they give a crap by donating 50% of their profits to help provide toilets and clean water to people worldwide.
Ecoleaf toilet tissue consists of 100% recycled fiber, and their products are free of all dyes or inks. This product is eco-friendly while also being ideal for people with sensitive skin and allergies.
Of course, the cutely named Bumboo is made of incredibly sustainable bamboo. At the same time, their products provide all of the quality, strength, and softness that you are used to.
Why Is Bamboo Toilet Paper Better for the Environment?
Bamboo toilet paper is a wonderful alternative for the environment because bamboo grows in abundance. It is actually one of the most renewable resources because it grows so quickly and is easy to replenish. Utilizing bamboo in our toilet paper would significantly cut down on deforestation.
Does Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper Clog Toilets?
Another common concern that might pop up when considering eco-friendly toilet paper is the possibility that it could clog your toilet.
Don’t worry — we have good news here! Variations of bath roll that are biodegradable are likely better for your pipes than their traditional counterparts. Since they break down much more quickly, the odds of causing issues related to plumbing are much lower.
What Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper Alternatives Are There?
Other than bamboo, other materials are regularly used to craft the best biodegradable toilet paper. For instance, hemp, sugar cane paper, and kenaf create similarly absorbent forms of toilet roll. These variations of toilet paper are typically free of dyes and plastic packaging and are made of only sustainable materials.
Bidets are another incredibly common sustainable alternative, and are popular in cultures outside of America. Bidets are thought to provide a superior level of hygiene while using less water than toilet paper production.
If you are not yet ready to say goodbye to toilet paper altogether, don’t fret. Any positive change is just that — a positive change. Anything you do in your own life to reduce your impact on the environment supports sustainability efforts on a larger scale.
The Bottom Line
Toilet paper is something we use on a daily basis, and while it may seem small, it can actually have significant environmental impacts. From deforestation to waste and plumbing problems, your toilet paper might be doing more harm than you realize.
We know this can sound troubling, but fortunately, there are plenty of sustainable toilet paper options available that can help you make small, yet meaningful, changes to your daily routine.
Here at Bite, we stand by the belief that environmental harm reduction works in tandem with self-care, which is why our oral care products and deodorants are crafted sustainably.
NRDC: The Issue With Tissue – How Americans Are Flushing Forests Down the Toilet | Stand Earth
Biodegradable (Plastic) Definition | You Matter World
Busting Popular Leave No Trace Myths | National Outdoor Leadership School