The PlantPaper Blog

Why Bamboo Toilet Paper?

I’ve been wiping with tree-based papers all my life and they seem to work just fine. Why should I consider making the switch?

There’s simply nothing clean about conventionally toilet paper. With a few exceptions, it’s been made the same way going back almost a hundred years. That’s in large because there are just a handful of big toilet paper companies across America, and there’s been little incentive for them to innovate. As a result, most people use toilet paper brands that are bad for the planet, bad for their bodies, and don’t even keep us clean.

Destroying forests to make toilet paper is “worse than driving Hummers.”

Going back more than a hundred years, trees have been the primary source of biopulp for household paper products, including toilet paper. At one point not all that ago, forest lands were so abundant across North America that it seemed like an inexhaustible resource. As the demand for household paper products grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, nascent paper companies bought up huge tracts of land–millions of acres worth of old-growth forests–and began cutting them down and turning them into paper. What they didn’t know then, but what we know with certainty now, is that these forests play a vital role in helping to regulate our planet’s temperature–in addition to sustaining tremendous biodiversity.

The Canadian Boreal Forest, the world's largest carbon sink. Tahreer Photography / Getty Images

Cutting down these forests for a product whose usable lifespan is only a matter of seconds is extraordinarily wasteful and short-sighted. While the forest products industry claims it has mitigated its impact by replanting trees where forests once stood, these trees take years to reach their full carbon-storing potential, and most are cut down before they ever get there.

A gallon of toxic chemicals like bleach and formaldehyde goes into making every roll.

While the tree-paper industry has much of the world convinced that trees provide by far the best source of pulp for paper products, the fact is that wood is a less-than-ideal fiber for making things like toilet paper. Almost all tree paper involves a blend of both hard and softwood tree species, typically sourced from disparate regions–even from disparate continents. That blend is what’s required to produce the combination of strength and softness needed for toilet paper. What’s more, huge amounts of bleach, formaldehyde, and other known carcinogens are added to the pulp mix in order to produce the bright white color and fluffy texture we’re all accustomed to. The presence of these chemicals in toilet paper has been linked to a host of uncomfortable conditions, including UTIs, vulvitis, anal fissures and more. They also find their way into our waterways and sewer systems, where they form hard-to-eradicate toxic compounds known as persistent organic pollutants. There’s nothing clean about that.

Paper pulp mill's dump millions of gallons of chemicals into our waterways.

Tree-based paper pills and shreds.

If we think we’re treating ourselves by purchasing fluffy white tree-based papers, we’re not. Chemicals aside, many of these papers shred and pill on contact, leaving behind unwanted paper remnants.

There is a better way–tree-free, toxin-free PlantPaper, made from 100% bamboo.

In terms of environment, human health, and performance, nothing compares to bamboo. Bamboo is considered carbon-neutral, due the extraordinary speed of its growth–up to a meter per day. This means that the carbon lost due to harvesting is recaptured in less than a season. What’s more, bamboo need not be clear-cut, only harvested, meaning that much of the carbon it stores remains underground. It also requires far less water to grow and process, and produces up to ten times more usable pulp on an equivalent parcel of land. Due to its unique fiber profile, bamboo also doesn’t need to be blended with other species, which in turn reduces its carbon footprint–nor does it require as intensive chemical processing to be strong and absorbent. For the same reason, bamboo-based toilet paper is far more shred-resistant than tree-based.

PlantPaper–a toilet paper without compromise.

While almost any bamboo-based toilet is superior to tree-based paper from an environmental perspective, only PlantPaper offers a fully toxin-free paper that doesn’t skimp on performance. With thicker plys, bigger sheets, zero bleach and formaldehyde, and a unique two-sided embossing pattern, PlantPaper truly isn’t just the best eco-toilet paper in the world. It’s the best toilet paper, period.


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