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Toilet paper is one of those things the average person probably doesn't think much about. I mean, you go to the bathroom, you play a couple rounds of Candy Crush, and then you wipe and flush and… hopefully you wash your hands. 🙏 (Please).
But of course since you’re reading a blog titled “Bamboo Toilet Paper: Is It Good, Better, or Best?” you’re likely not an average person. You’re here because you’re an eco-warrior out to do your part in saving the planet. So you’ve actually given some thought to your toilet paper, and now you wanna know — is bamboo toilet paper better for the environment?
The short answer is yes, yes it is.
But don’t take our word for it. Here we’ll break down all the various aspects you might want to compare when selecting your preferred paper.
Bamboo is an ideal resource to create products like toilet paper.
It takes around 100 years for softwood trees to reach the maturity level required for soft, virgin toilet paper. (“virgin” toilet paper just means it’s coming directly from freshly cut trees, not from recycled paper.) In contrast, bamboo reaches full maturity in anywhere from 60 days to 3 years.
This is because bamboo is actually a grass. That means not only does it grow rapidly, it also continues to regenerate on its own, with no need to replant after harvesting. In addition, it pretty much guzzles CO2 — pulling carbon dioxide out of the air 3-4 times faster than trees. That’s great, since carbon dioxide is a leading cause of climate change.
The only potential downfall to bamboo is its sourcing. If a company clear cuts old-growth forest in order to plant bamboo, it kind of defeats the point. Old-growth forests are full of trees and other vegetation that has been left undisturbed for a long period of time — typically 150 years or longer. These areas are particularly biodiverse, meaning they are made up of thousands of various species which is crucial to a healthy wildlife habitat. When we replant a forest, it’s nearly impossible to replicate.
That’s why it’s important to know about a company’s sourcing and whether they are practicing responsible farming. Most of Cloud Paper’s bamboo is FSC-Certified — meaning it has a stamp of approval from the Forest Stewardship Council (a third-party agency devoted to protecting old-growth forests). There are only a handful of bamboo paper companies that hold the certification, so it’s something to watch out for.
So bamboo is a sustainable resource, but of course you want to know — how does bamboo compare to the other toilet papers out there? Let’s look at it next to virgin and recycled paper and you decide if you think bamboo toilet paper is better.
We’ve broken it down into several categories:
Traditional toilet paper causes deforestation. That means fractured and reduced wildlife habitat, and it takes 100+ years to regrow. Plus when you disturb the forest root systems, it actually releases carbon back into the atmosphere.1
But what about recycled toilet paper? In some ways, recycled paper is great! It’s taking something that would otherwise be trash and putting it back into use. However, toilet paper is always the end of the line, since TP gets flushed and can never be recycled again.
That’s why we prefer to use tree-free products, so those recycled papers can continue to be recycled again and again. (Though there is a limit to recycling — paper can usually only be recycled 5-6 times before the fibers are too short to use again.)
Bamboo toilet paper is surprisingly soft! Meanwhile, recycled toilet paper is often a bit rough. And traditional toilet paper is now made so soft that it sometimes leaves crumbles or disintegrates in your hand… 😬.
That’s one of the major reasons our customers prefer bamboo toilet paper — it’s the perfect amount of soft, yet durable.
You don't just have to take our word for it! Here's a review from one of our very own customers who purchased Cloud Paper bamboo toilet paper:
"You wouldn't think that toilet paper could change your whole world but yeah. It does. Do it. Most durable TP I've ever used plus it's actually soft, bonus of not chopping down trees."
-A real Cloud Paper customer
Don’t worry, despite the perceived strength, bamboo toilet paper is actually very biodegradable and great for your plumbing and septic system.
It breaks down faster than virgin toilet paper, so if you’ve had issues with your septic in the past, this may be your solution.
Many people wonder why bleaching toilet paper is even necessary at all. After all, isn't it just going to… get brown again?
The thing is, the bleaching process doesn’t just whiten the toilet paper — it also strengthens and softens it. Weird combo, I know, but that’s “how the sausage is made” as they say.
The common bleaching process for recycled paper (called PCF) is chlorine-free and non-toxic, but the bleaching process for most virgin papers is not. The problem is, when those papers go through the recycling process, some of those toxins get carried into the batch.
If you want to go deeper on this, we seriously nerd out in our blog: The Bleaching Breakdown.
The TL:DR is — if you want toxin-free paper, you need to know the entire history of the fibers involved. Virgin bamboo paper, when made responsibly, is your best choice.
Standard, virgin toilet paper is usually the cheapest, and bamboo is a close second. This is mostly due to streamlined systems with high demand. So the more people support eco-friendly alternatives like bamboo toilet paper, the cheaper they will get in the long run. Recycled toilet paper is usually the most expensive.
Yes! Bamboo toilet paper is an eco-friendly, affordable option that is the perfect consistency — not too soft and not too rough — so both your bum and your drainage pipes are happy.
Cloud Paper bamboo toilet paper and paper towels are made from an easily renewable resource, with an eco-friendly bleaching process, and they ship straight to you. Plus our shipping is carbon negative (meaning we carbon offset our shipping) so you can feel confident that you’re making a planet-positive choice.