How eco friendly is your toilet paper? What questions do you ask? We consider three things to look at when choosing toilet paper.
1. What raw materials is it made from?
2. Was it bleached and if so, how?
3. Was it locally made?
Toilet Paper Raw Materials
Is the toilet paper made from recycled raw material? Or is it made from virgin wood pulp and in that case, where does the wood come from?
The best raw material to look out for is recycled raw materials. Toilet paper is not recycled or reused, so when virgin pulp is used, we are literally flushing fresh trees down the loo. Although not the plushest and softest, toilet paper made from recycled raw materials can be soft, in fact one of our customers recently described our toilet paper (60% recycled raw materials and 40% FSC certified sustainable wood pulp) as “surprisingly soft”. Recycled raw materials are often cheaper too so the final product can be more affordable.
If your toilet paper does have virgin wood pulp as a raw material, look for wood pulp sourced from certified sustainable plantations only.
It is important to consider the bleaching process that makes the toilet paper white. The bulk of toilet paper for sale on the market is bleached using chlorine which release Dioxins into the environment. Dioxins are a huge environmental problem because they do not naturally break down. They are carcinogenic and cause cancer and many other health related illnesses. Read more here
This is what you want to look out for:
1) TCF (Totally Chlorine Free): Brown Roll
TCF is used only to refer to 100 percent virgin paper produced without chlorine or chlorine derivatives (the bleaching process uses oxygen-based compounds). You can get toilet paper made from recycled raw materials that has not been bleached but it cannot be called Totally Chlorine Free incase there is Chlorine in the raw materials.
2) ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free):
Papers are produced from pulp that has been bleached with a chlorine derivative such as chlorine dioxide (ClO2), but without elemental chlorine (Cl).
The first toilet paper we offered was completely unbleached. It was brown in colour and we called it the Brown roll. We had some problems keeping up supply due to production problems so we had to modify our product to Elemental Chlorine free toilet paper. We’ve seen imported versions of the TCF paper, but we hope to get it back in local production one day. Read more here.
Where is it made?
Surprisingly a lot of paper products are imported however, it is very possible to get toilet paper made here in South Africa. It has a lower carbon footprint and cost of transporting, and best of all creates local jobs.