Bamboo vs Recycled

Bamboo vs Recycled

Switching from virgin wood toilet paper to a sustainable alternative, be it bamboo or recycled, is hugely beneficial to our planet. Chopping down hundreds of thousands of trees each year for a single-use item is unconscionable. Our products are made from bamboo, but there is no bias here – both options are worthy sustainable alternatives; but which is the right option for you?  

Recycled paper: 

#1 Recycled loo roll is primarily made using post-consumer paper waste - less paper in the landfill, hoorah! Paper can be recycled between 5-7 times. However, paper used to make toilet paper has reached the end of the line so cannot be recycled furthermore.   

#2 Some recycled materials, such as thermal papers (receipts), contain BPA. BPA is a chemical  used to make plastics. Exposure to this chemical has been linked to several health conditions, including infertility, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. This is caused by the chemicals ability to seep from the plastic; consequently, absorbing into our bodies. Trace amounts of BPA have been found in recycled toilet paper. There is no knowing whether such small amounts have the potential to cause harm, but it is always best to be cautious and opt for a BPA & BPS (BPA’s equally harmful cousin) - free recycled toilet paper. 

#3 Some brands may advertise as ‘recycled’ when they contain very few recycled materials; your recycled loo roll should contain at the very least 50% post-consumer recycled material. Pre-consumer paper waste is often used too, but these are scraps and cut-offs from factories which would end up in the landfill if they were not recycled! 

#4 Making loo roll from recycled paper can be chemically intensive. De-inking agents are often used to remove ink from recycled materials. Recycled material also needs to be sanitized, which may require further chemical treatment. Luckily, eco-conscious brands have found less chemically intensive ways to remove ink and sanitize their paper, which includes using air and heat.! If this is of importance to you, we recommend speaking with your preferred recycled paper brand, and asking which method they use. If your toilet paper has been whitened (bleached), look for a TCF option (totally chlorine free), as this is the most environmentally safe way to whiten toilet paper.  

#5 Although ‘softness’ has very little (nothing) to do with environmental impact, we cannot ignore that recycled paper is just not very soft. And, when you are repeatedly using this product on intimate parts of the body, it will not take too long for irritation to occur. Hopefully, the recycled TP industry will find a new way to soften their TP without the use of harsh chemicals.  

#6 Recycled paper can be manufactured in the UK using UK sourced materials. We appreciate how important this is to those wanting to make more sustainable, eco-conscious choices, so it truly is one of recycled TP’s most appealing features.  

Bamboo paper: 

#1 The process used to make toilet paper from bamboo is similar to the process used to make virgin tree papers. The plant is broken down into fibres, and made into bamboo pulp. This is then soaked and pressed to form paper. Once dried, it is rolled and cut into smaller rolls. As with recycled loo rolls, opting for a TCF whitening process is the most environmentally safe choice. Unwhitened loo rolls reduce environmental impact even further. 

#2 We may have mentioned that bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet, which makes it hugely sustainable and rapidly renewable.  

#3 Bamboo is sourced from China as this is where it grows naturally in abundance. Our bamboo is grown & harvested by farming co-operatives, providing rural farming communities with a sustainable income. Our bamboo loo rolls are FSC certified, ensuring responsible farming and land management. Unfortunately, when we speak of sourcing material from China, this is often met with a ‘gasp’ and disapproval. And, as lovely as it would be to source bamboo in the UK, it just is not possible at this time. We ship by sea freight, as the transport related carbon emissions were paramount in our decision making. Sea freight is up to 10 times more carbon efficient than road transport, and much more than air freight – it is a complex topic!  

#4 Bamboo toilet rolls are both soft and strong – your bottoms are most welcome. They also breakdown quickly which is great for both the environment and your toilet! 

#5 Bamboo produces approximately 30% more oxygen than trees, absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide, and uses 30% less water (let’s not forget that those recycled loo rolls were trees once upon a time). Bamboo has no natural pests so can be grown without pesticides, further reducing exposure to harmful chemicals in the finished product.  

#6 Bamboo reduces deforestation! And, although recycled TP also reduces deforestation, the extent of reduction differs. If recycled content was used to make other paper products (excluding toilet rolls), which can then be recycled multiple times, this would lessen the demand for virgin wood.  

It is not down to us to decide which of the above statements are most important to you – we all share different views and opinions when considering our environmental impact. Being open and honest about the lifecycle of our product has always been key, so we hope this has helped you on your journey to a more sustainable, eco-conscious lifestyle.  

Recycled vs Bamboo Toilet Paper


Photo credit: Danilo Alvesd @ Unsplash

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