Bamboo Toilet Paper: Pros, Cons & Interesting Facts
Toilet paper—most of us use it every day without really thinking about its environmental impact. However, millions of acres of trees have been destroyed so that we have something soft to wipe with. Aside from bidets, bamboo toilet paper is considered one of the best and most environmentally friendly toilet paper alternatives. Below, we look at the benefits and drawbacks of this relatively new idea.
Traditional Toilet Paper
Invented in 1857 by Joseph Gayetty, toilet paper hasn’t changed much in the last 150 years. It is made of 70% hardwood and 30% softwood, with much of the wood coming from Canada’s boreal forest. Millions of acres of forest have been felled to harvest the wood used in toilet roll production— a process that also requires vast amounts of bleach and water, potentially depriving people across the world of basic water facilities.
Recycled toilet paper is more environmentally friendly than paper made from virgin fibers, but the manufacturing process is still detrimental to the environment. Although it doesn’t require the deforestation of trees, the recycled paper is washed with lukewarm water to create a pulp, which then has air injected into it to remove the ink. Once again, the pulp is bleached before being dried, rolled, and cut.
Recycled Toilet Paper
Recycled paper is better for the environment than paper made from virgin tree fibers. It minimizes the trees that need to be cut down and uses paper and paper-based materials that would otherwise be thrown away. The process also uses around 50% less energy and 25% less water than is used when processing virgin fiber toilet paper.
However, some of the additional processes required in the manufacture of recycled toilet paper bring their own concerns. The paper is treated with several chemicals, including Bisphenol-A, also known as BPA. BPA has been linked with increased instances of certain diseases and illnesses, including heart disease and fertility problems. Air pollutants can also be found in some recycled papers.
Bamboo Toilet Paper
Bamboo toilet paper offers an alternative to virgin and recycled toilet paper. This alternative is said to be more environmentally friendly while still offering a soft and usable toilet paper. But what are the benefits of bamboo toilet paper? And are there any drawbacks to this somewhat modern take on the old classic?
Bamboo Toilet Paper Pros
Bamboo Toilet Paper Cons
Interesting Facts About Bamboo Toilet Paper
1. Bamboo Is the World’s Fastest Growing Plant
Bamboo is actually listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the fastest growing plant in the world. Some species can grow as much as 35 inches per day, which equates to 0.00002 miles per hour. The tallest recorded bamboo plant was 130 feet high, although the plant is generally considered mature once it reaches a height of 7 feet.
2. Bamboo Regrows Without Replanting
The trees used for the manufacturing of traditional toilet paper must be replanted because they will not regrow after being chopped down. Bamboo will regrow by itself and does not need to be replanted in the same way.
3. Bamboo Toilet Paper Doesn’t Need Chemical Additives
The natural properties of bamboo mean that it does not need to be chemically treated when it is being processed. This means that there is no chlorine or other bleaches used in bamboo toilet rolls.
Bamboo, the world’s fastest growing plant, is a more environmentally-friendly toilet paper material than hardwood and softwood trees. It grows in dense colonies, can grow up to 3 feet per day, and once it has been harvested, it doesn’t require any added chemicals to ensure that it is safe and soft for human use. Although bamboo toilet paper does tend to be more expensive and more difficult to get hold of than tree-based alternatives, it is becoming more readily available, and its costs are dropping.
Featured Image Credit: Serhii Ivashchuk, Shutterstock