Toilet paper has been a touchy subject this year. The majority of people aren’t willing to give up toilet paper the same way they’ve been trained to give up single use bags at the grocery store. While there are more bidet and reusable alternatives on the market, toilet tissue is still an essential for many households that are doing what they can to live more sustainably. But, we can’t ignore the fact that tens of thousands of trees are cut down every single day to make toilet paper.
Luckily, the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) has done some comparing for us and has assigned rankings to bath tissues based on numerous factors. Their scorecard looks at variables like the percentage of recycled content, use of chlorine/bleach toxins, fiber material and if the tissue is made from virgin fiber, if it is responsibly sourced from FSC-certified (Forest Stewardship Council) forests. I have gone an extra step to categorize these brands into a report card format adding extra points for criteria if the products are plastic-free, tree-neutral or tree-free, and if they have initiatives to give back to environmental or other non-profit projects.
“Consumers have power in their pocketbooks and can make a big difference through their toilet paper purchasing. Now, more than ever, we need to protect our remaining forests. Given toilet paper’s extreme cost to Indigenous Peoples, the global climate, species, and forests like the old growth boreal, tissue companies need to act as global citizens and usher the world into a more sustainable, sensible paradigm that does not rely on trees for creating their products. The tree-to-toilet pipeline must end for the good of communities, species, and the climate. We cannot afford to keep flushing our vital forest ecosystems away” – NRDC.org
Our Top Choice for Toilet Paper
Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper
WGAC is a certified B Corp with high environmental and social impact standards. They offer 100% recycled bath tissue and bamboo toilet paper options. Zero dyes, inks, fragrances, or plastic packaging and the double length rolls are a nice touch. They donate 50% of profits to help build toilets and support sanitation projects around the world. Who Gives A Crap gets bonus points for their personal flair. The fun paper packaging can be up-cycled for gift wrapping, crafts, recycled, or composted. Your orders are shipped directly to your doorstep on a subscription model that saves trips to the store and minimizes dependance on big box stores.
Reel donates single-use biodegradable toilets to those in need with every roll sold. These donated toilets neutralize bacteria so that waste can be turned into fertilizer. Reel is also plastic-free and their tree-free sustainably sourced bamboo paper is free of dyes, inks, BPA, fragrances, and chlorine/bleach. They also operate on a efficient subscription model with aesthetically-pleasing paper-wrapped rolls that are cute enough to keep on display.
Eco Friendly Alternatives
100% recycled bath tissue packaged in 100% recyclable plastic wrap and is shipped in a recyclable cardboard box. Their TP is not whitened with bleach or chlorine and contains no added fragrances or dyes making it safe and environmentally friendly. Added comfort of knowing you can likely grab a stash at your local store (assuming the TP isn’t flying off the shelves).
365 Whole Foods Brand
This 100% recycled bath tissue is whitened without chlorine bleach and contains no fragrances or dyes. It’s also comprised of 80% post-consumer recycled content and is FSC-certified. Amazon acquired Whole Foods after the NRDC’s scorecard was published. It’s up to you to determine if the pros of this TP outweigh the cons of supporting the Amazon empire.
Trader Joes Bath Tissue
TJ’s always manages to make it on the nice list, but only their regular bath tissue made the cut. This 100% recycled bath tissue with 80% post-consumer recycled paper content is convenient enough. Like the other A Level options, there is no chlorine bleach, but with a smaller price tag. However, the 12 pack is wrapped in plastic which we chalk up to a slight downside compared to the bulk efficiency of the others.
USDA-certified bio-based tree-free tissue made from sugarcane and bamboo grass. Fragrance-free double rolls. Comes wrapped in plastic and doesn’t come in bulk like the other A-listers, but the price is more budget-friendly. Still better than supporting big box stores or corporations who aren’t committed to a sustainable future. This product can also be found on the Grove Collaborative site so you can easily work it into your green subscription.
100% recycled bath tissue with the added plus of 90% of it being post-consumer recycled paper product that keeps waste out of landfills. Green Forest’s TP is made without any added dyes, fragrances, chlorine,
Not Very Eco-Friendly
Scott Brand, Cottonelle, Trader Joes Super Soft Bath Tissue, 365 Whole Foods Sustainably Soft Bath Tissue, Charmin, Angel Soft, Kirkland Bath Tissue (sorry Costco lovers), and up&up Target Brand Bath Tissue did not score favorably.