Changing the planet for the better is just a bum wipe away!
Yep… We are talking socially and environmentally responsible toilet paper (TP). It’s weird how passionate you can become about some of life’s most mundane events when you start thinking about your impact on the planet and how best to use your dollar to vote for the world you want to live in. To date our household has used one specific Australian brand of TP that is sold in supermarkets and wrapped in brown paper. It is the one and only choice (in most supermarkets) for people wanting to buy plastic free TP and truthfully it’s kind of like wiping your behind with a sheet of sandpaper. While it’s nice to know your doing your bit by purchasing 100% recycled TP and not committing plastic wrap to landfill the trade off of having your bits exfoliated with every wipe is not exactly that much fun. Also of late this brand of paper has been disappearing off supermarket shelves across my local area making it near on impossible to find any toilet paper that doesn’t come in plastic. The fact hubby and I have been forced to drive to a far off supermarket to purchase this brand is the reason I haven’t named it. The last thing we want is for supermarkets to be trawling the www and seeing me ranting about how bad it is and remove the paper wrapped options from shelves all together.
So why shop consciously for TP?
Well aside from the aforementioned waste reduction point (the packaging from paper wrapped TP can be reused for craft projects, composted, or recycled) it’s important to think about the overall impact of your toilet paper choices. Recycling in general is a great idea, however if you don’t purchase recycled products you are providing input for the system but not supporting the output. If you want to be an A+ recycler it’s imperative to support the recycled product market (read more about recycling and the waste stream at my Waste Weigh Up challenge post here). So recycled toilet paper is always a good option. It’s also important to think about trees. Trees are not only pretty, leafy and loads of fun to look at and/or climb, they also provide a great service to our environmental flows. They absorb carbon and release oxygen, filter nasty particulates from the air, save water by slowing soil evaporation, make homes for animals, stop soil erosion and can provide drug properties for many human and animal conditions (just to name a few benefits). While toilet paper, no matter how responsibly it is made uses resources, the alternatives may be a little too far removed from the norms for society to accept just yet (shared wiping rag anyone?). More info about TP choices here.
‘Who Gives A Crap‘ and ‘Pure Planet‘ put to the test.
Having had a Google around for some viable TP options that hopefully won’t sandpaper my private bits I came across ‘Who Gives a Crap?’ (WGAC) and ‘Pure Planet’ (PP) and went a little bit TP crazy and bought a carton of each to test run. It’s not until 60 rolls of TP arrive at your house that you realise how much space 60 rolls of toilet paper occupies. After clearing out a shelf of my hall cupboard and neatly lining up my TP purchases (feeling for a moment like I was working in a boutique for TP) I decided to unwrap two rolls and put them in the bathroom for trial. Truthfully but are pretty much on par. The PP paper is probably a fraction softer than the WGAC but unless you have both on the go in your bathroom you wouldn’t notice the difference. Neither paper is fragranced which is great because fragrances can be irritating for some folks. However, the PP paper is whitened (WGAC is not) using Hydrogen Peroxide which is promoted as a ‘natural alternative to chemical bleaching’ on their website, but usage of this manufacturing process would give it a lower rating than the WGAC products using this environmental ratings scale. The papers both look incredible cute in the bathroom with PP being the pretty all round winner for being safe to introduce to your swearing sensitive grandparent and small children, while WGAC is the kind of paper you would proudly display in your share house and/or bachelor pad as a talking point. Both brands suggest that you recycle the paper wrappings offering recycling DIY options on social media. WGAC even collaborated with designer Beci Orpin to produce a limited edition range of toilet paper. Who woulda thought the day would come where you would lust after a range of TP!
Both brands manufacture in China. Both note that this is due to costs, PP also mention that they manufacture in this location as it is the source of the bamboo and sugarcane they use to create their tree-free TP. On the other hand WGAC note that their decision to manufacture in China is cost based and their desire to keep costs low is because their primary mission is to create opportunities for global partners (both in manufacturing process and the their goals to provide sanitation). WGAC is company firmly based in social issues, and 50% of the proceeds of the sales of their product goes to Wateraid to build toilets in developing countries. To date they have funded access to sanitation for 69 380 people! PP and WGAC both save trees. PP uses bamboo and sugarcane for their TP pulp fibres (which you can read about their supposed benefits over trees here and I say supposed because I’m not sure if any chemical/water/energy use when making bamboo and sugar cane and this impact compared to recycled paper) while WGAC uses post consumer recycled paper. The great bit about both brands is that they offer a subscription delivery service that you can sign up to have your TP delivered to your door at intervals designed to suit your household requirements. Both brands deliver in cardboard boxes (no plastic aside from a little bit of sticky tape) and PP uses a carbon neutral carrier. Cost wise WGAC works out to around $1.25 per roll (free delivery to most areas) but this will go up or down if you are outside of free delivery areas and/or buy in bulk. PP without delivery is around $0.67 per roll but when delivery is added (location specific) it will rise, it works our around $1.37 per roll in my area.
As much as I would like to be a Pure Planeteer (mostly because it makes me think of the Captain Planet song of my youth) I think I am more someone who ‘Gives a Crap’ about what I wipe my lady bits with. While PP paper is a little softer and whiter than WGAC this really isn’t enough of a differentiation point for me to select the PP products as a long term option. As someone who really advocates the idea of buying recycled the WGAC paper is the winner for me. Not only is it recycled, it also provides sanitation for people in developing countries! Both brands are an excellent way to avoid sending plastic wrapping to landfill and a superior choice over many of the supermarket brands that are loaded with pretty trees (even products from sustainably managed plantation forests still require trees to be cut down and often mean rows and rows of exotic non-habit trees being planted). The PP products may really appeal to those who like super-soft 3ply luxury and packaging that doesn’t swear at them. More importantly the delivery services mean you will never have to worry about running out of toilet paper again and free up time to do more exciting and useful things that walk up and down the supermarket isles cursing about the fact there are no TP options that aren’t wrapped in plastic wrapper.
Seb also tested the TP options and decided that PP was best for resting on, while WGAC was fun to roll around in. An important consideration when deciding what option to go for if you are a pooch. It should be noted that neither of these products were gifted to me and this TP buying/reviewing frenzy was completely my own (and Seb’s own) doing.