Whether you’re front to back, back to front, stand up, or sit down...the toilet paper you use every day says a lot about your eco-credentials.
When researching and testing the best eco-friendly toilet paper, I had two critical criteria to meet:
Whether it's bamboo, recycled or even reusable (!) toilet paper, we have options available these days which don't destroy rainforests or harm the environment during the manufacturing process.
But I absolutely refuse to compromise on quality....
Elementary School Toilet Paper Nightmares
I’m among friends here, right?
Great, because I have something I need to tell the group. The toilet paper at my elementary school scared me for many years.
It was waxy, thin enough for fingers to tear through 🤢, and cleaned up absolutely nothing...what was the janitor thinking?!
Luckily, my elementary school toilet paper nightmares are now a distant memory and I’m now spoilt for choice when it comes to buying the best eco-friendly toilet paper.
They Say: 27,000 trees are cut down daily to make traditional toilet paper. Reel is made from tree-free, 100% bamboo paper. Zero plastic packaging, even the tape. By purchasing reel, you are supporting our mission to provide access to clean toilets to those in need around the world.
We Say: This is now the only bamboo toilet paper brand we use in our house as it excels in all our needs.
I love the eco-credentials of co-founders Livio Bisterzo and Derin Oyekan. Reel has partnered with SOIL to help provide sanctuary toilets and remove waste from communities in Haiti.
Mrs. M and the girls love the triple-ply softness.
Reel premium bamboo eco-friendly toilet paper is a subscription service, so that’s one less thing for you to remember on your shopping list.
If you’ve not yet switched to eco-friendly toilet paper because it’s too much trouble, then Reel has your back.
Simply sign up and get sustainable toilet paper delivered to your door on a schedule that suits you. Simple. Convenient. Eco-friendly. SOOOOOOOOO SOFT!
Managing your subscription online is easy, and you can cancel at any time with no commitment.
Don’t like the idea of a subscription? No worries, you can buy a one-off box of 24 toilet rolls for $34.99 + $6 shipping.
Each roll is 300 sheets of super-soft 3-ply wrapped in recycled paper. The whole order was shipped in an eco-friendly cardboard box. A fully plastic-free toilet paper experience!
They Say: Through carbon savings generated by switching to renewable bamboo toilet paper and our carbon offsetting programs Cloud Paper has saved or offset 1,000,000 pounds of carbon. Every roll of Cloud Paper reduces our reliance on old growth forests for single use paper products. Cloud Paper also invests in large scale forest preservation efforts around the globe. Cloud Paper is 100% plastic free and source paper from FSC/SFI certified manufacturers. No more plastic wraps heading to oceans and landfills.
We Say: Cloud Paper is another eco-friendly toilet paper subscription service that impressed me during testing.
It’s slightly cheaper than Reel, and you get more sheets per roll.
As a family, we’ve chosen Reel ahead of Cloud Paper because it was marginally softer and felt thicker/stronger. We also love the work Reel is doing with SOIL.
This said, if Reel were not available, we would have no hesitation in signing up to Cloud Paper long-term.
Cloud paper tree-free toilet paper is safe for use in septic tanks. It’s also free of chlorine, BPA, pesticides, scents, and dyes.
They Say: Bamboo is Magical. It's time to reduce Deforestation. Using this magical grass, 65% less Carbon emissions are released than if we were using trees. Bamboo is sourced from FSC Certified forests. Do we steal Pandas food source? NO, of course not. They like another type of bamboo.
We Say: Cheeky Panda is the article’s third and final eco-friendly toilet paper subscription option.
To be honest, there is nothing much between Reel, Cloud Paper, and Cheeky Panda. I loved them all…but Reel still has the edge for me.
At 200 sheets, the Cheeky Panda rolls are smaller than Reel and Cloud Paper.
In terms of softness and thickness, I would say that Cheeky Panda sits between Reel and Cloud Paper (but, again, it’s all very close).
What does give Cheeky Panda an edge, and might be a key selling point for some, is that they’re B Corp Certified.
If you sign up for a subscription, you get 30% off your first delivery of eco-friendly toilet paper (bringing the cost down to just over 20 bucks for your first 24 rolls).
They Say: Our TP is hypoallergenic, absorbent, and leaves no linty trails on your bum. We know that to create long-lasting change we need a great product - so we made the best. Our 3-ply, embossed sheets are silky soft, yet strong and absorbent. We're also BPA-free and made without the use of harsh chemicals, inks, scents, and dyes. Made with 100% organic bamboo from FSC certified groves.
We Say: If the eco-friendly toilet paper subscription model is not for you, you might want to consider Betterway bamboo toilet paper.
It’s readily available on Amazon and of excellent quality.
Betterway is committed to recycled and plastic-free packaging. That applied to every aspect of these toilet rolls. From the core to the outer wrapping and the shipping boxes.
I liked the texture pattern of this toilet roll. It made it feel softer and luxurious.
They Say: Bim Bam Boo toilet paper is made out of 100% bamboo tissues. That fluffy soft toilet paper may be the root of your UTI’s, yeast infections or generalized irritation “down there”. With every wipe, small pieces of toilet paper remain on the skin, often leading to irritation and possible infections. Thanks to the tissue formula in this bamboo toilet paper you can (literally) wipe away your worries about irritation and eliminate harmful linty leave-behinds.
We Say: I need the ‘security’ that my finger will not go through the paper. That’s why I swear by 3-ply. I think this goes back to my elementary school nightmares! 😱
However, some people believe that 3-ply is wasteful and 2-ply is all you need.
I disagree. I believe an extra layer of sustainable bamboo in your toilet roll isn’t going to do much harm to the planet.
If you’re in the two-ply toilet paper camp, then this offering from Bim Bam Boo is the best out there at the moment.
It’s a pricey option to pay over 50 bucks upfront for toilet paper…but it’s 2-ply toilet paper that feels as strong as 3-ply.
Bim Bam Boo is a women-owned and run company addressing feminine hygiene issues caused by traditional toilet paper. In their own words, “Bye bye bad bacteria and odor! Our formula promotes a healthy vaginal pH, assuring your wipe keeps you balanced”.
They Say: Seventh Generation 100 percent Recycled Paper Bath Tissue is an extra strong and soft 2 ply toilet paper whitened without chlorine bleach. It's gentle on the environment, septic safe and RV friendly, too. For more than 25 years, Seventh Generation has been thoughtfully formulating safe and effective plant based products that work. Really well. Seventh Generation Free & Clear 100 percent recycled toilet paper and paper towels are made with no added dyes, inks, or fragrances.
We Say: Seventh Generation is an eco-friendly brand that’s been on my radar for a while. They do some great things with recycled materials.
I’ve already recommended their trash bags, and I’m in the early stages of testing their diapers and baby wipes for future articles.
Watch the space…I have a feeling you’re going to be hearing a lot more about Seventh Generation here on TheRoundup.
Seventh Generation toilet paper is made from 100% recycled paper and whitened without chlorine.
It’s septic safe and compatible with low-flow toilets in RVs and campers. Making it an excellent option for your next eco-friendly road trip.
These toilet rolls are wrapped in 100% recycled plastic.
They Say: Double sided (2 ply) — two wipes sewn together makes for a better clean up. 100% soft cotton flannel — helps with diaper rashes. Serged edges help your wipes last. Machine wash warm with like-colors. Dry in the dryer. The fabric has not been pre-washed. There will be some shrinkage are the first few washes.
We Say: Sometimes known as family cloths, these are soft pieces of material designed to be used, washed, and used again.
I’m sure it’s the perfect solution for some families…just not the Miller family! We’re going to stick with our bamboo eco-friendly toilet paper subscription for now.
However, I can totally see how people with better eco-credentials than me would love these. They’re very soft and do a great job getting you clean.
The problem for us arose with the storage and washing of the cloths. Mrs. M didn’t want to wash them with anything else. And it didn’t feel very eco-friendly to put a wash on just for ten cloths.
If a whole family is using the cloths regularly, you would have more than ten and a proper storage bin.
Then, maybe once a week, you could wash a whole load of cloths for the following week.
Bulk buying these cloths from Creekside Kid drives the price right down and qualifies you for free delivery in the U.S.
Etsy will offset the carbon emissions produced by the delivery and packaging of any orders you place with Creekside Kid.
When washing family cloths, remember to use eco-friendly laundry detergent.
While I still remain to be convinced about the sustainable fabric credentials of bamboo, there is no doubting it’s a kick-ass material for eco-friendly toilet paper.
Reel Paper has written an excellent piece that nails exactly why bamboo is such an eco-friendly toilet paper choice.
The average American uses three rolls of toilet paper every week. This has a devastating effect on the world’s forests because most of the favorite U.S. toilet paper brands use unsustainable virgin pulp.
This deforestation for toilet paper takes precious oxygen away from the planet and destroys the habits of animals and ingenious people.
Recycled toilet paper is a more sustainable option because no new trees need to be destroyed.
Post-consumer recycled toilet paper is an even better option if you can find it. It’s essentially a way of reusing paper that had no other use and was destined for landfill.
Some reports state that recycled toilet paper can contain BPA. However, the levels are so low that there is nothing to worry about (you come into contact with higher levels of BPA from your bank cards).
As consumers, we’ve been programmed to believe that the best quality toilet paper is the whitest and brightest.
However, paper is not always naturally bright white, meaning bleach is often used to get the desired color.
Most bleaches contain chlorine, which is considered toxic. Not ideal when coming into contact with your delicate areas.
Avoid this by going for unbleached or chloride-free brands.
Ecolabels and certification help give you peace of mind that the brand of toilet paper you’re buying matches your eco-credentials.
Some of the more common ones to look out for when shopping for toilet paper are FSC, Ecologo, and Green Seal.
Check out A-Z of Eco Labelling: 184 Green Certifications Explained for more details.
All the tree-free credentials in the world are going to be slightly undermined if your toilet paper is then wrapped and/or shipped in tons of plastic.
Wheat straw toilet paper is being hailed as the next big thing to rival bamboo.
It’s an agricultural byproduct that would otherwise be incinerated, so very sustainable.
I haven’t found any wheat straw options worth recommending as yet.
However, as more wheat straw pulp mills open in the U.S., I have no doubt new brands will come to the market. I’ll update this article if/when that time comes.
Why stop at eco-friendly toilet paper?
Check out some of my other articles below and turn your bathroom into an eco-friendly paradise:
Yes. The best eco toilet paper option is to use no paper at all! Using a washable option (like the Creekside Kid cloth wipes mentioned in this article) can cut your toilet paper usage to zero.
If that sounds too extreme/gross for you, then maybe consider installing a bidet attachment to your toilet. It’ll keep your tush clean and dramatically reduce your toilet paper usage.
When you consider it takes 37 gallons of water and 1.3 KWh of electricity to make a single roll of toilet paper, a bidet or bidet attachment starts to sound like a fantastic idea.
I feel that the terms biodegradable and compostable are slightly ‘greenwashy’ when describing toilet papers. Whether made from bamboo or trees, pretty much all toilet paper is biodegradable and compostable.
We would cut down no trees for toilet paper in an ideal world.
Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. Mainstream consumers and toilet paper brands have been slow to turn their back on toilet paper made from virgin tree pulp.
However, as I hope I’ve demonstrated in this article, there are now plenty of environmentally friendly toilet paper options to suit all budgets.
In my eyes, the best eco-friendly toilet paper option is a bamboo toilet roll subscription. Sustainable and convenient. Win-Win!
But…if you’re in search of a fully sustainable eco toilet paper experience…maybe reusable is right for you!
Recycled toilet paper is also a decent eco-friendly toilet paper option at a push.
Whatever route you decide to go down, please, for the love of the forests, steer well clear of any brand that insists on chopping down trees to make regular toilet paper.
Where do you buy your eco-friendly toilet paper? Are you a subscription convert like me? Or have you been brave enough to make the switch to reusable? Drop me a line and let me know.