September 29th, 2011

5 Ways to Green Your Toilet Paper

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5 Ways to Green Your Toilet Paper Groovy Green Livin

Toilet paper is a staple in every home and yet it’s rarely discussed. It needs more recognition. It’s a necessity- right up there with food, water and shelter- and our toilet paper choices are impacting the environment in a big way.

One would think that having three boys would actually help conserve toilet paper (they’re not supposed to need it for every visit to the bathroom)-au contraire -we go through the stuff at a ridiculous pace.

I wanted to put taboo topic of toilet paper on the table so I decided to take a quick toilet paper survey among a few friends. Here’s what I found:

  • Most were into some green cleaning and personal care products.
  • All use conventional toilet paper.
  • Price was a big factor in toilet paper selection.
  • Some used the same brand from their childhood (do you remember what toilet paper you used as a kid? I have no recollection).
  • The feel of the toilet paper was of utmost importance–the softer the better. “Green” toilet paper has a reputation of being scratchy and thin.

I found it interesting that some were really into green cleaning and personal care products, but drew the line at toilet paper.  I get it: extra-soft, quilted and multi-ply IS nice. But I worry about the chemicals that make it so soft and plush and then come in contact with our body. And how about the huge ecological consequences toilet paper manufacturing  is having on trees?

Thankfully there are a few ways to green your toilet paper habit.

  1. Use recycled toilet paper. I know what you’re thinking, but no worries the recycled toilet paper is made from recycled paper NOT recycled toilet paper! The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) says that if every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber toilet paper (500 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 423,900 trees. Not only will we save trees-we’ll also save water and cut back on paper waste that continues to fill our overflowing landfills.
  2. Don’t use toilet paper that’s been bleached with chlorine.  White doesn’t necessarily mean bleached-there are other ways to whiten toilet paper. Look for products that are chlorine free.
  3. Count your squares. Be aware of how much you are using.  According to TreeHugger there is actually a right and wrong way to load your toilet paper onto the holder. If you stick to the “right” way (with the sheets coming over the top of the roll) you will waste less paper. Who knew??
  4. Don’t buy toilet paper that’s individually wrapped. Those individually wrapped rolls produce a lot of extra waste. Try to buy your toilet paper in bulk-there is much less packaging waste.
  5. Make sure the toilet paper has no added dyes and fragrances.

My toilet paper of choice

I know this is getting a little personal. I’ve tried my fair share of green toilet paper. Some of them were scratchy and thin and some fell apart during use (ewww factor). There is one that I’ve stuck by for a few years: Green Forest 12 Double roll pack or the Green Forest 4 roll pack . I don’t think it’s as soft as some of the big conventional choices, but it does the trick.

Also remember, keep your eyes open because green toilet paper does go on sale.

Time for you to share. Do you draw the line at “green” toilet paper? What brand of toilet paper do you buy and are you loyal to it? Does price impact which tp you choose?

Big thank you to my impromptu “toilet paper focus group”. You guys rock!

[Photo used under Creative Commons from Sharon Mollerus/Flickr]

Disclosure: there are a few Amazon Affiliate links in this post. If you decide to buy anything by clicking on them you will put a few pennies in my pocket. Thanks!


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