The bog blog! If you already buy recycled toilet paper and simply want to avoid plastic packaging, there are easy alternatives. If you also want to avoid the plastic contained in the actual toilet paper, it becomes a little more difficult. It all depends on your level of commitment to the cause and on weighing up the pros and cons:

1) Recycled paper with compostable packaging

Pros: Suma’s Ecoleaf toilet paper & kitchen towel, to pick just one example, are made in the UK with 100% recycled paper from a blend of consumer waste and offcuts from manufacturers’ waste. The 100% compostable wrap is sustainable, renewable, non-polluting, non-toxic and unbleached. So far so good.

Cons: Paper collected for recycling includes many items such as thermal receipts and magazines that contain a nasty type of plastic called BPA. There is much written about this on US websites. If you want to avoid contact with BPA and are worried about flushing plastic chemicals down the loo and ultimately into the oceans, don’t buy recycled paper products.

2) Plant- based paper in compostable packaging

Pros: Greencane paper products are made from 70% recycled sugarcane and bamboo fibre and 30% certified wood pulp. Packaging is 100% compostable including the see-through cellophane. The whole lot is sustainably sourced and is free of inks, fragrances and plastic. I like this product very much (see picture). Greencane now also do ‘naked’ toilet paper of 48 unwrapped rolls shipped by mailorder in a single cardboard box.

Cons: Greencane paper was developed by a couple from New Zealand, is produced in China and is therefore shipped a long way. It’s probably more expensive compared to the other options.

3) Homemade toilet cloths

Pros: You may think I’m kidding but just search for fabric toilet cloth on the internet and you will find that a lot of families do this. Made from old fabric, disposed of in separate bins and then carefully laundered – no packaging, no carbon footprint.

Cons: I could probably come up with something, but fabric toilet cloth brigade I salute you! Nevertheless, I’m going to stick with Greencane paper for now.

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  1. Mercedez Halliwell

    Thank you for an interesting post! I have an additional question about the Green Cane toilet paper. On the pictures it looks like they are wrapped in plastic?

    1. admin Post author

      Green Cane packaging is all paper and a thin, plant based cellophane. Also try Who Gives A Crap UK who wrap their toilet rolls in paper only.

      1. Tola

        Great blog! really helpful. I think suma also wrap the bulk buys in plastic too unfortunately. Probably still less plastic than my normal shops but still defeats the plastic free thing 🙁 I think I’ll have to try who gives a crap, as they seem to be the only ones wrapping well, even though they are quite a bit pricier.

  2. Laura

    I’ve just received my first order from Who Gives A Crap, and the only plastic I’ve received is the sellotape to seal the box closed. I do have a few concerns though. Similarly to Greencane it is shipped from China. Also, the paper wrapping is recyclable and not compostable, presumably because not all of the inks are plant-based.

    I do understand that they are trying to appeal to a wide audience by balancing sustainability and profitability, but I have to admit that I think Greencane comes out on top in terms of environmental impact.

    I know you can’t put a price on our planet, but if cost is a concern then I think Greencane works out cheaper… I will do the maths and find out! 🙂

  3. Laurence Feeney

    I’ve arrived here after winning an argument with my wife about plastic in tissue paper. I have one question. Does it taste better?

    1. admin Post author

      I have no idea Laurence, please let me know if you ever do the taste test. Thanks for making me read the post again – it reminded me to add that Greencane now do 48 unwrapped rolls in a single cardboard box by mailorder. By far the best option yet.

  4. Rosie

    Interesting post, I know it is quite old but hopefully you are still getting notifications, just thought I’d comment that, If you have growing space, I think I read somewhere that mullein leaves (plentiful, large soft and furry) make very good wiping material and are pretty much free, compostable and you decide on your own packaging if any and it doesn’t require shipping. Not tried it myself, though have resorted to dock leaves when occasionally caught short out in the wilds:)

    If you still use a conventional water closet as opposed to a compost toilet, then I also like the idea of the shower type of arrangement that a lot of Arabic countries use and that is connected to the toilet. Think this would work well with the cloth idea

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