Unlike most Asian, African, and Middle East countries that rely on bidets to wash away their excretion, people in America and the EU highly depend on toilet paper. This can be seen when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in late 2019. Toilet paper was listed among rare items because many people bought it in large quantities. Little did they know that these bathroom tissues have a detrimental effect on the environment, as they quickly release carbon after it dissolves. Consequently, they highly contribute to worsening global warming. The abundant trees to cut for toilet paper production is another issue that is no less concerning. And for that reason, we urge you to consider biodegradable toilet paper, which is more environmentally friendly.
They not only help reduce the acceleration of global warming and climate change due to gas emissions but offer better solutions for health as they are mostly made of natural and/or recycled material. Besides that, they are also 100% sustainable because the materials are accessible and don’t damage the environment.
However, you must be observant in choosing biodegradable toilet paper brands by checking on eco-friendly stickers. Find all the details below to know further about why we need biodegradable toilet paper!
Biodegradable Toilet Paper
Some people may still need to familiarize themselves with the existence of eco-friendly toilet paper made from biodegradable materials, such as bamboo. They are the best alternative to regular toilet paper which contains harmful chemicals.
What are these chemicals? And why should we replace our recent toilet tissue with septic-safe, eco-friendly toilet paper? Find the detailed answer in the following sections!
1. Harmful Chemical In Common Toilet Paper
Perhaps, you already know that the process of making tissue involves several chemicals. They are necessary for a few production steps, like bleaching, which makes them white. Toilet paper industries create such a color because of consumer demands since white symbolizes cleanliness.
So, what chemicals have been proven dangerous for our health, here they are:
It’s common knowledge that chlorine is one of the best bleachers used in tissue and paper manufacturing. Little did we know that the chemical used to bleach (chlorine) is one of the worst in your tissue roll! The use of chlorine is a problem because the reaction that appears can produce a compound called dioxin. This carcinogenic chemical harms our health because it can disrupt the immune system, develop reproductive and growth issues, and potentially become an endocrine disruptor.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
For those who use toilet paper made of recycled material, you must be aware of the presence of BPA. Recycling toilet paper is considered an option to reduce waste pollution, as it is plastic-free. Nonetheless, the recycled paper used in manufacturing recycled toilet tissue carries the risk of containing BPA contaminants which can be absorbed into the body through the skin surface. Consequently, this chemical will build up over time and trigger reproductive disorders, early puberty, low sperm production, and breast cancer.
Another chemical compound that is carcinogenic found in toilet paper is formaldehyde. It is commonly used to improve strength. Thus, the paper-like texture of the tissue is not brittle and easily torn despite being exposed to water. Unfortunately, it comes with alarming consequences for our health. This chemical may trigger irritation of the vulva, the outermost female part that is often exposed to tissue.
2. What Is Biodegradable Toilet Paper?
Biodegradable toilet paper is often promoted as sustainable toilet tissue, which is septic-safe because it is made from natural materials. Along with increasing concern about environmental issues, more and more biodegradable toilet paper brands are emerging on the surface. They use eco-friendly stickers to convince consumers about the safety of their products. However, what exactly is the definition of biodegradable toilet tissue?
Basically, biodegradable toilet tissue is made from biodegradable materials, such as bamboo and sugarcane fibers. Because of these natural ingredients, this toilet paper is also often known as compostable toilet paper. Hence, you can easily throw them to your compost bin and use it for your plants!
Unlike regular toilet tissue, which uses 100% recycled paper with harmful chemicals (e.g., chlorine) in its manufacture, compostable toilet paper prefers to use alternatives that are safer for health and the environment. Some examples are chlorine dioxide, the chlorine derivative that is far less toxic. Others even completely eliminate the chemicals from the manufacturing process. In addition, they won’t include plastic in their packaging. Mostly, they change it into eco-friendly stickers, paper-based materials to deliver your orders.
3. What Is Biodegradable Toilet Paper Made Of?
While regular toilet paper uses trees, biodegradable ones are made of biodegradable materials that are 100% sustainable (hence the name)! In general, the industry will utilize several materials such as bamboo, kenaf, sugarcane, and hemp.
Apart from being naturally biodegradable, these materials are also easy to cultivate. Take bamboo as an example. They can grow and spread fast, requiring only 60 days to fully develop and around 3 years until they are established. Thus, they provide a sustainable source to produce sustainable toilet paper.
So, how long do these natural materials take to decompose? It takes roughly only months to fully degrade in the soil. Even more remarkable, they can dissolve faster in water, almost right after you flush them down your toilet. Hence, this sustainable toilet tissue is one of the best bets if you want to contribute to saving the earth.
4. Why Should We Use Biodegradable Toilet Paper?
If you are still hesitant to replace your toilet paper with biodegradable alternatives, let us convince you by presenting two strong reasons along with astonishing facts about this tissue. Check out below!
Reducing The Number of Cut Trees In The Forest
According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, Americans use at least 8 MILLION TONS of toilet paper annually. Can you imagine how many trees flushed down your toilet while it takes years to grow them to the size where they get cut?
By replacing your regular one with sustainable toilet paper, you are contributing to reducing the felling of trees in the forest, the main raw material for making toilet paper. Natural toilet paper alternatives are generally made from sustainable sources, like bamboo and sugarcane, which grow quickly and easily.
Because the use of toilet rolls is massive, the increase in the use of chemicals in the toilet paper industry is inevitable. No wonder the industry is listed as one of the top three most significant pollutant contributors globally. The chlorine they use to bleach the pulp, even though it doesn’t have significant harm to the environment, will produce dioxins. This dioxin risks contaminating rivers and seas and poisoning marine life to death.
Safer for Health
We assume you’ve read some of the sections above that explain the effects of chlorine on health. Fortunately, biodegradable toilet tissue manufacture has replaced this chemical with a material that is safer for health, namely chlorine dioxide.
In fact, some of them actually eliminate bleach chemicals to prevent health issues that arise when consumers use them. Even though the color of the tissue becomes darker, this natural toilet paper does not pose a risk that is harmful to health.
How Do You Know If Toilet Paper Is Biodegradable?
More and more brands are claiming that their toilet paper is biodegradable. However, how do we really know that those are not misleading information? In the following, we summarize easy ways to find out the biodegradability of toilet paper.
1. FSC Certification
One way to ensure whether the toilet paper we buy is produced with environmental impact in mind is to check the FSC certification. For the recycled paper-based toilet paper, the logo generally displays the FSC recycle logo. You can check it on the packaging first to ensure the toilet paper is made from recycled materials.
2. Flushability Test
Most of the toilet paper will end up in the septic tank. Therefore, ensuring excellent flushability is crucial to know whether or not they dissolve quickly in the water. You can try it by putting the toilet paper into a transparent water bottle filled with water. Let them soak in for 30 seconds. Then, close the lid and give 5 to 10 shakes.
Observe how your toilet paper breaks down after the shake. You can leave it for a few hours and come back to check on it. If they start to degrade into tiny particles, meaning they are biodegradable.
3. Biodegradability Test
Apart from the procedure above, you can also try these following steps to ensure the biodegradability of your toilet tissues:
- Prepare toilet rolls and jar with the lid.
- Fill the jar with water.
- Add 2 or 3 sheets of toilet paper into the water.
- Shake the jar around one or two shakes.
- Observe the material for around 6-8 weeks.
Natural Alternative For Toilet Paper
Instead of using toilet paper, people in other countries use several alternatives to replace it. These options are better for your health and also consider the future environmental impact. What are the eco-friendly products to switch from toilet rolls?
First and foremost, bidets are one of the best options for replacing toilet paper. The shape is similar to a small shower, usually installed near the toilet to make it easier to access and use when defecating. While it is popular in Asian and Middle Eastern countries, bidets are still rare in the U.S.
Apart from being installed in the toilet, bidets are also available in a portable version. Hence, you can bring it everywhere. Super handy! So, consider this option if you want to reduce waste, have a better choice for health, and save our environment.
2. Reusable Cloth
If you still don’t like the idea of installing a bidet, using a reusable cloth may be the ideal pick. Its use is similar to tissue to wipe your private area after pooping or peeing. It’s just that you can use it many times, so you can reduce tissue waste.
However, you do have to be diligent about washing it regularly and drying it. This is very important so that this cloth does not become a breeding ground for bacteria due to the continuously damp conditions.
3. Water Bottles
Going to have adventurous camping but don’t bring toilet paper to wipe? You can use an empty plastic bottle to replace it. Make a tiny hole in the bottle cap to spray water. Then, fill the water bottle. Close the lid and start using it. In addition to utilizing plastic waste, you reduce tissue waste that you might generate during camping.
4. Natural Wipes
Apart from water bottles, you can also use leaves as natural toilet paper camping. Some that you can try are moss, banana leaves, or maple leaves. They have a soft, paper-like texture and comfortable surface. Thus, it can clean the dirt just like tissue. It’s just that you will need more to completely clean your private area. Besides, these materials are naturally biodegradable. Hence, you shouldn’t be worried about littering.
What Brands Of Toilet Paper Are Biodegradable?
Interested in changing your recent toilet rolls with biodegradable ones? Here are some of the best biodegradable toilet paper brands you can consider buying.
For the first pick, we recommend Betterway. It has achieved a climate-friendly hedge on Amazon that guarantees its products are safe for our environment. Their products are made of bamboo with great versatility.
Thus, you don’t have to worry about them dissolving too quickly when using them. In addition, these bamboo toilet rolls are unscented and dye-free, ensuring safety for those with sensitive skin. Not only that, these eco-friendly tissues are compostable. You can grab the 12 rolls for only $31.34. Pretty affordable!
2. Cloud Paper
One brand that provides the best deal for newbies is Cloud Paper. They only cost you around $44.99 for 24 rolls! Bamboo is still the mainstay material for making tissues, just like the previous brand. If you wonder how long bamboo takes to decompose, it will take about one year. That’s pretty fast compared to other materials.
Furthermore, they will arrive right at your door using a box labeled as recycle. In addition, they are chlorine-free. Thus, you don’t need to worry about the health and environmental impacts that this toxic chemical may cause.
3. Seventh Generation
Another one you can buy comes from the Seventh Generation brand. Unlike the previous two, this one is made of recycled paper. Even though there are some pros and cons to recycled toilet paper, the brand has held the FSC recycled logo to ensure its safety for the environment. Besides, they are chlorine-free.
Thus, you may expect less white color compared to other non-biodegradable brands. They are also fragrance and dye-free. Hence, they are safe for those with sensitive skin. You can get 24 rolls for $33.19 on Amazon. They are cheaper than bamboo-based toilet tissue as their materials are 100% recycled.
Biodegradable toilet paper is an eco-friendly alternative to regular ones filled with chemicals. Apart from that, they are not environmentally friendly, and those tissues are also risky for health if used continuously. Our experts recommend replacing them with bidets to have a clean wipe or reusable cloth.
In addition, not all products labeled as recycled are biodegradable. You must be able to ascertain whether they are not harmful to the environment by checking the FSC certification or testing them according to the procedure we have summarized above.
- Eco Tips: How To Recycle Amazon Packaging Correctly
- Biodegradable Toilet Paper: The Environmentally Friendly Alternative
- Biodegradable Sunscreen: The Reef-Friendly Skincare Product
- Eco-Tips: How To Dispose of Light Bulbs Safely
- Eco-Tips: How To Dispose of Batteries Properly
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is bamboo toilet paper actually better for the environment?
Americans generally flush down regular toilet paper, around 140 rolls per year for one person. Can you imagine how many trees must be cut down to meet the need for toilet tissue? Of course, over time, this exploitation has had negative environmental impacts.
Luckily, bamboo toilet paper can be the best solution that is more environmentally friendly and 100% sustainable. Its production only produces 30% of emission gas compared to regular toilet paper. Considering this fact, bamboo toilet paper is absolutely better than your common toilet tissue.
Is there an eco-friendly alternative to toilet paper?
Even though it looks trivial, regular use of bathroom tissue has detrimental environmental impacts. They quickly release carbon, thus increasing the gas emission level into the atmosphere. Therefore, we recommend switching the bathroom tissue to environmentally friendly alternatives made from natural materials, such as bamboo toilet rolls.
Apart from that, you can also try recycled toilet paper that can easily flush down the toilet without clogging. Another option is portable bidets you can bring everywhere.
Can biodegradable toilet paper go down the toilet?
If you use biodegradable toilet paper, you don’t have to worry about them blocking the drains. This biodegradable tissue can be easily flushed down the toilet because they are made of natural materials, thus quickly dissolving in the water. In addition, the septic-safe toilet paper has a shorter wood fiber arrangement than the common one, which makes it easier to dissolve. So it doesn’t clog the septic tank drain.
Does recycled toilet paper block drains?
Recycled toilet paper is made from 100% recycled materials, such as paper or tree pulp. Thus, these plastic-free bathroom tissues have a soft texture compared to the ones made of virgin wood fibers. Besides, they also have shorter fiber structures that likely won’t block the drains as they quickly dissolve.
However, you can always test the septic safe toilet paper before flushing down the toilet. First, take four sheets of biodegradable toilet paper. Then, put them in a container. Next, pour water up to ⅔ full, then close it with the lid. Shake the container for around 10 seconds and rest it for a moment. Observe the biodegradable tissue. If they are torn into pieces, then they quickly dissolve in water.
What can you use for toilet paper in nature?
Suppose you love going camping or hiking and running out of toilet paper. In that case, you can rely on nature to serve you natural toilet paper alternatives. One example of toilet paper for camping is moss. Even though it looks moist, moss is a natural absorbent that can prevent odors from spreading to your excretions.
In addition, the texture is soft, so it won’t hurt sensitive areas. In case you need bigger leaves, try lamb’s ear or mullein. Their broadleaf surface allows you to wipe the feces or pee easily.