Zero Waste Challenge Day 25: Toilet Paper
30 Day Zero Waste Challenge
June 24, 2016 | Kathryn Kellogg
Last Updated on September 11, 2020
This is one of the most common emails I receive. Yes, I still use toilet paper. We briefly discussed toilet paper in my bidet post.
It takes 37 gallons of water to make one roll of toilet paper! A lot of toilet paper companies are using virgin forests and are completely unsustainable – let’s chat about some better options!
Switch to a better product!
Opt for toilet paper wrapped in paper instead of plastic. Make sure to compost the cardboard tube and the paper wrapped around the toilet paper.
Look for toilet paper at an office supply store or order from amazon.
If you can’t store an entire case of toilet paper, (how many of the boxes wrapped in paper come) buy 100% post consumer recycled TP and recycle the plastic film at the front of the grocery store.
You can find a location here.
100% Recycled Toilet Paper:
Americans use 8 million tons of toilet paper a year. If every US house used just one roll of 100% post consumer recycled TP a year, it would save 423,900 trees.
This is my favorite toilet paper! I was buying Green2, but new tree free brands are popping up all the time. You’ll find tree free is much softer than 100% recycled.
Try a bidet:
It is no secret that I LOVE my bidet. I cannot sing it’s praises enough – pooping and periods have never been cleaner.
I have the older model of this Brondell. It’s even cheaper, and it requires no electricity.
Of course there are other options, Toto toilets also have both bidets and washlets, and I’ve heard good things about the spray nozzles like Mrs. Bidet as well.
Bottom line: You should seriously get one – I know you’re curious.
This post may contain affiliate linking you can read more on my disclosure page.
Don’t understand why western people use toilet paper in the first place. In India we wash with water and that’s it. You can use a hand spray attached to the toilet. We also have ones that come with water attachment (similar to bidet)
I live in Peru the lifestyle like this is so dificult really… how i can? advices ?
I use cloth wipes. They are comfortable and easy to use.
We bought a bidet to use less TP. We are happy with it and are using far far less TP.
Do you turn the water supply to the bidet on and off before and after each use of it? I’m looking at bidets and all the instructions state that you must reach under the toilet and turn off the water source to the bidet every time that you use it. Failure to do so will cause the bidet’s hardware to prematurely fail and cause your pipes to break, thereby flooding your house/apt. 🙁
Uhhhh…. where are you reading this? I haven’t seen anything like that. It hooks up to your sink the same as turning on a faucet basically.
I read it on an amazon review for one that I was considering getting after reading your post. May still get anyway, because after googling about it I didn’t see it come up elsewhere. Maybe it’s different for ones that hook up to your sink vs the toilet itself.
Alright, I just read my manual like 5 times and talked to brondell customer service. They are wonderful by the way. The attachments like I have do not need to be turned off, but the handheld (your link) do. You can see the bidet attachment I have linked in my bidet post. I LOVE it and highly recommend it.
You are amazing! So thorough and committed. Thanks for following up on this. I really appreciate it.
Well, there was a little bit of personal stake in this as I suddenly became gripped with fear that my house was going to flood…. 😉
I’m highly surprised you didn’t mention family cloth, cloth pads or menstral cups !!
I love my bidet sprayer it does double duty for rinsing cloth diapers and rinsing my privates after using the restroom . It attaches to the toilet .. but not all attach to certain sizes of piping unless you get the right sized t shaped adjuster… .
Cloth pads and menstrual cups are on separate dedicated posts. 😉
We purchased a portable bottle bidet (~$10) around a year ago. We had planned on buying a fancy, permanent bidet if all went well with the cheap portable one. It’s over a year later, and we have yet to feel a need to invest in anything more. Then, a couple months ago, we ran out of toilet paper, so we had to use a washcloth. It was fantastic! Feels much better on your bum, and there’s no paper waste to flush away. This reduces your carbon footprint, saves you money, and feels so much better. We haven’t found a downside to this yet. I highly recommend a cheap portable bidet (if you want to save money or try it out before investing more) and washcloths.
In South East Asian countries we have the "bum gun" installed (pipe with a mini-shower head that you can aim to your bum n bits to clean) because toilet paper is not usually culturally accepted. In certain countries toilet paper is tossed in the bin as the pipe networks are old and cannot handle paper waste materials.
Does the toilet paper from Green2 (amazon) come with plastic packaging from amazon, which would negate the purpose?
When I wrote the post, it came in a box with paper wrapped around the rolls. I’m not sure if they changed it or not.
I use a combo of 100% recycled toilet paper (currently still sourcing it wrapped in plastic, but I do have a recycling option for that) and "family cloth" – which is basically just diaper wipes I bought off Etsy. I love it! I’m not ready to deal with cloth for more than pee, or to foist it upon my guests, but it’s definitely cutting back on my TP usage at home already. I hung a wetbag on my TP holder for the cloths, then dump it straight into the wash with my other clothing when it’s full/wash day. So far saving about 16 TP uses a week (6-12 squares each time) and it doesn’t add to my laundry at all (I’d save more if I had more cloths). That’s 5,000 TP squares a year for this really simple switch – That’s 25 rolls of toilet paper plus tubes and packaging that I will have avoided in one year (give or take) 🙂
simply use water and small towel, cleaner and dryer.. i cant find eco friendly tissue brand in where i stay, so the choice is only use tissue or not use tissue.
Ditch the Toilet Paper. Get a Hand Held Bidet Sprayer and wash with water and you don’t really need Toilet Paper anymore. It’s far cleaner, healthier, saves money and you never run out! See http://www.bathroomsprayer.com.
I keep a small bowl of white vinegar and water on the edge of my bathtub, and dip my personal cloths in that to wipe. It makes me feel very clean, and it also keeps the used cloths from smelling nasty til they get to the wash. The vinegar water goes down the toilet once a week or so.
Great Post! One advantage of toilet paper is that you’re less likely to get anything on your hands.
I just found your blog and I absolutely love it. Gives me so many great ideas… I’m starting my own zero waste movement, so this will be a great resource for me. I’ll give your blog a shoutout on mine!
I recently ordered the Marcal toilet paper you suggested by following the link. Unfortunately, when I received to the toilet paper today, the rolls inside were completely wrapped in plastic. 🙁 I just figured I would say something in case any others are looking for a more eco friendly toilet paper.
Who Gives a Crap TP is the best! It’s bamboo and they donate 50% of the profits to help build toilets for those who need them. The rolls are wrapped in paper that you can reuse for projects or recycle.
If anyone is still looking at these or responding, I have to say, why does EVERYThing need to be purchased through AMAZON… Sorry, they are the Walmart of the internet. Can any of these Toilet Paper options be purchased directly from the manufacturers? I started ordering from "Who Gives a Crap" and I love the packaging and that it is all plastic-less. Anyway, looking at more options.