Whatever is going on with the panic buying of toilet paper, at the end of the day, or should I say year, you’re not going to end up using 10x more toilet paper. According to ‘Ethical Consumer‘, the average bottom [person] in 2018 used 127 rolls per year! In other words, do the math, there’s enough out there given that people don’t get twitchy and stockpile, and if calm prevails then supply chains remain steady, as does stock. Also, again looking locally at Britain (as the third largest consumer of TP in the world), with the stockpiling ahead of Brexit it has also provided some degree of cushion. ‘To be clear, there seems to be no reason to believe there will be an actual shortage of toilet paper unless panic shoppers simply overbuy.’ Expert advice from Fisher International, and they’re right!
But what about the world of toilet paper? Back in July 2019 ahead of the current virus, there was a fascinating article written by Dan Nosowitz for Vox, so succinctly written and informative, that we barely need to add anything. Take a look here, ‘Disruption has come for toilet paper.‘ Slick marketing, subscription models, and eco-consciousness are changing the TP landscape.
Of course people don’t just use TP for wiping their bums as the cost can make it a cheaper alternative to tissues. It has other uses of course; for wiping your nose if/when they have a cold, clean up water or spills on toilets, tables or floors, makeup removal and other small cleaning tasks like wiping your keyboard, amongst many others. But focussing on the subject in hand (so to speak) here’s a brief overview of the various TP alternatives and what to look out for if you want to be eco-friendly, as we all should.
- Traditional TP. The manufacturing process involves, a mixture of softwood and hardwood trees (generally 70/30) water (a lot of it!) chemicals to extract fibre, and bleaches (chemicals e.g. chlorine dioxide) which make it white.
- Recycled TP. A method that caught peoples attention and is gaining more and more support. It is far better at saving and preserving the planet. But again chemicals are required, albeit less, to bleach the paper back to the aesthetic white associated with clean soft paper. Positives are: 1.) recycled paper is far more sustainable than virgin pulp. 2.) Look out for unpackaged toilet roll or ones with biodegradable packaging. 3.) Fibres (check the labels) such as bamboo and agricultural waste, if responsibly sourced, are more sustainable than virgin pulp. For bamboo, hemp, sugarcane look for brands like ‘Who Gives A Crap‘, ‘No. 2‘, ‘Bumboo‘ ‘Ecoleaf‘, ‘Greencane‘, ‘Bippy‘ and ‘Cheeky Panda‘, look for the FSC stamp (see below) 4.) Toilet paper made from recycled paper keeps waste out of the landfills and ensures it decomposes properly. Paper (think anything from newspapers to greetings cards) is stripped of ink, then moulded and dried to become a toilet roll.
- FSC stands for ‘Forest Stewardship Council’, an international non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible forestry. FSC 100% is wood from fully FSC-certified forests. FSC Recycled is wood that must be pre- or post-consumer waste. FSC Mix is most frequently found on toilet paper. it’s a mix of FSC virgin wood, recycled, and virgin wood from ‘controlled sources.’ FSC certifies forests all over the world to ensure they meet the highest environmental and social standards. Ideally, go for brands that do not use chlorine processing at all. Also, look out for the Rainforest Alliance and Green Seal, a mark of environmental responsibility through every stage of the toilet paper production process.
To end on a more humorous note, here’s an old ad we love from Quilted Northern rustic weave 🙂 that would be a perfect leveller for the panic of the past few weeks, and… we’ll be back next Friday.