Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One thing for the planet: recycled toilet paper

I've done a little comparison shopping for everyone. I decided a month ago that it was time to ditch the 2-ply, super soft, rolls-so-thick-they barely-fit-in-my-toilet-paper-dispenser toilet paper. I've been using 100% recycled paper products elsewhere in my house for years. I don't go through much since I use dishcloths more than paper towels, but I've never made the leap to toilet paper.

According to the Seventh Generation toilet paper label I read in the store:

"If every household in the U.S. replaced just one roll of 500 sheet virgin fiber bathroom tissue with 100% recycled ones, we could save 448,000 trees, 1.1 million cubic feet of landfill space (equal to 1,700 full garbage trucks), and 161 million gallons of water, which is a year's supply for 1,270 families of four!"

I bought a roll of 1-ply, it was a bit scratchy I admit. So I bought two other products available in my local store: 100% recycled "Small Steps" by Marcal and 40% recycled "Naturals" by Scott.

Here's my results:

Seventh Generation: Their 2-ply is a bit softer than the 1-ply. I like that you can buy it in individual paper-packaged 1000 sheet rolls to avoid plastic, although the 2-ply is only available 500 sheet rolls.

Marcal's Small Steps: Only found it in 1-ply which is about the same quality as Seventh Generation's 1-ply. Also available in individual paper-packaged 1000 sheet rolls.

Scott's "Naturals": Available in 2-ply 440 sheet rolls and was by far the softest, but that's the benefit to being more virgin paper and less recycled paper. They call it a "sensible blend of 40% recycled fiber". It only lasted half as long as the 1000 sheet rolls of the other brands. From what I can tell it's only available in plastic-wrapped packages.

In conclusion I've decided to stick with the Seventh Generation since they were a pioneer in the recycled and earth friendly paper product business. I like their sense of community and their idea of corporate consciousness.

The best part about this experiment is I don't even think my husband noticed I took away the soft and squishy old stuff! I call that a success! So go save some trees, some petroleum AND some water at the same time!


  1. That is so true Kate, even here in the Philippines we are getting too much aware of it. I have been using 1-play toilet paper for a long time now, well, I can say that there's not much difference be tween the two, besides it'll be only to use to wipe (I won't mention it LOL).

    I like your post, very environment friendly. Looking forward for more!:)

    And thanks for visiting my blog. I'll send you mangoes haha.


  2. Well I am willing to give it a try on your advice. Just as long as we don't have to recycle it again.

  3. I've never used a paper towel in my life, but it's always bugged me that, for instance, cut up rags as an alternative for toilet paper are impractical. Especially when you have guests...

  4. Cow rather agrees with Fran and the issue AL stated also.

    Perhaps because Cow is on septic not sewer, she is very aware of waste and in fact, uses a clean wash cloth for the single drip and saves the paper for any (ahem) big jobs.

    Ecologically friendly Moo!

  5. thanks for reading everyone! I'm glad that people are either willing to give it a shot or are already thinking along the same lines. And Rae, you definitely do not have to recycle it again :)

  6. Kate, I've been looking at the brands you just reviewed but was still on the fence on which to try. I will take you recommendations and see if my hubby notices.

  7. I've been on the recycled for a while, but have never had a choice between one or two ply. Our local shop used to sell the recycled paper rolls without any packaging which I always thought was a good thing.

  8. Thank you for doing the research for us. In our house, we tried to use no more than 6 squares of toilet paper. It really made us aware of how much we were using ... it's pretty easy to grab the end and just pull.

    Thanks, again!

    Small Footprints

  9. This covers all the bases = saves you money, helps the environment, helps your health, makes you feel better, it's so easy to do and it costs less than $50.00; Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off” Available at www.bathroomsprayers.com with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without feeling guilty. It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt with prudently but remember the water use of industrial users far exceeds the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways.

  10. SQ: good luck with the experiment! let me know what happens!

    Lulu: that's great that you're already doing this!

    Small: 6 squares is an excellent rule.

    Jeff: a great suggestion. We actually have one of these for rinsing off cloth diapers, it was only $32, but the installation caused a drip in the supply line that I could never get to stop so I took it off to save water and just wipe the diapers off now. This works so well I never got around to reinstalling the sprayer right, I will dig it out and try again, I know my husband would LOVE to have this thing for his own cleaning purposes....

    While visiting Morocco I noticed every toilet had a sprayer and our Moroccan friends only put out paper when the wasteful Americans (us) were coming over for dinner. I always found that interesting thanks!

    thanks for visiting everyone! -kate

  11. Kate--I can't remember where I read this, but your post made me recall something I read in a book about how we hold our ass on high...when did we start thinking it was OK to wipe our tush with virgin fibers and drop our waste into drinking water? I'm a fan of seventh generation. I'm also a fan of pooping in the woods and jumping in the sea!


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