The word “vegan” typically brings to mind food - fruits, vegetables, and dairy alternatives. But what about the non-edible products we use daily?
Toilet paper, kitchen rolls, and facial tissues are everyday essentials for many of us, and we might not have considered their vegan status, but it’s worth considering! Today we’re unravelling some surprising facts about how animals can be involved in toilet roll production, and offering guidance on finding a cruelty-free roll.
The Basics of Veganism
To start, let's clarify what veganism entails. Veganism is a lifestyle choice that aims to exclude, as far as possible, all forms of exploitation of animals for food, clothing, or any other purpose.
Veganism was first coined as a term in 1944, and has deep roots in many cultures and philosophical traditions around the world. In the present day, the vegan outlook is shared by more people than ever, and initiatives such as “Veganuary” offer a positive, proactive way for consumers to try this mindful approach to consumption.
As we’ve mentioned, Veganism is most often associated with food, but the philosophy encompasses a wide range of products, including cosmetics, clothing, and everyday household items. We regularly receive emails from potential customers who would like to know if Naked Sprout toilet rolls are suitable for vegans. The answer is yes, Naked Sprout products are vegan. Not all tissue brands can say the same…
What's in Your Toilet Roll?
Toilet paper is primarily made from paper, paper primarily comes from trees, bamboo, or some kind of recycled paper or card. So far, so vegan, right?
Well, not quite. The journey from tree to toilet roll is not always a straight line. Various additives and processes come into play, some of which involve the animal products, or introduce animal welfare concerns.
This is concern number one. Gelatine is a setting agent typically derived from animal bones that is the basis of many widely used adhesives, including those used to bind the tissue and plys of some toilet rolls. For this reason, it’s always worth checking with manufacturers about their adhesives, and being wary if they can’t give you a straight answer. At Naked Sprout we use an adhesive derived from pine sap, a natural byproduct of responsible forestry!
Most toilet paper is white - but the pulp it’s made from is brown. So brands that offer white rolls have achieved that colour through bleaching, often using chlorine bleach. While not directly an animal product, the process of manufacturing bleach has a hugely damaging effect on the health of waterways and the animals and fish that live in them.
Some more eco-friendly manufacturers use chlorine-free bleach based on hydrogen peroxide to artificially whiten their rolls. This is less damaging than chlorine bleach, but still has an environmental impact. At Naked Sprout we don’t use any bleach or bleach substitute at all - we don’t think any amount of environmental damage is worth it, just for the sake of artificially lightening rolls. So our toilet rolls come in their natural shade - brown!
Plastic is not an animal product, but plastic pollution is hugely damaging and hazardous to animals, fish, and birds. If you’re considering the total impact of your daily habits on non-human lives, cutting back on plastic as much as possible is a great step. With this in mind, it’s worth taking another look at the plastic packaged packs of toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, and facial tissues that line our supermarket shelves. These products could just as easily be sold in cardboard or paper containers!
- Animal Testing
Here’s another sad fact; some toilet paper brands test their products on animals. You wouldn’t think it was necessary for a product as simple as tissue, but as we’ve covered, not all brands are keeping their tissue recipes simple! Animal testing is of course a significant issue for vegans, and if you’re in any doubt at all it’s worth checking with the company to make sure. Naked Sprout toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, and tissues have never been tested on animals, and never will be.
Finding Vegan-Friendly Options
Now we’ve covered some of the potential pitfalls out there, how can you ensure that your toilet roll choice aligns with vegan principles? Here are some tips:
- Look for Labels
Certifications like the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) indicate that the paper comes from responsibly managed forests, with sustainability and conservation in mind. .
- Go for Recycled or Bamboo
Recycled paper is made with much less virgin fibre and therefore requires much less logging of forests, so it’s a good choice if you want to be sure your tissue products aren’t coming at the cost of precious habitats. You can also consider alternative products like bamboo toilet paper. Bamboo grows quickly, takes up less space and requires less water than normal trees, and doesn't need pesticides or herbicides to help it grow, lessening its impact on local species.
Some companies are explicitly committed to eco-friendly and vegan practices and will happily provide a full accounting of their processes and ingredients. If in any doubt, it’s worth checking. Naked Sprout products are entirely vegan, and we are always happy to answer any questions about our rolls and what goes into them. If we’ve missed any potential concerns from this run-down please let us know! You can always email us at email@example.com
Veganism promotes a holistic understanding of how our lives are connected with the lives of all the living beings that share our planet. The question of whether toilet rolls are vegan might seem like a simple yes or no, but digging more deeply shows how simple, everyday, products can be produced in ways that damage animals directly and indirectly.
Weighing environmental harms can be complex, and perfection is always a goal rather than a reality, but we find it heartening to see more cruelty-free and ethical options becoming available for food, toiletries, and other everyday essentials. At Naked Sprout we are very proud to stand with our vegan customers, as part of the movement towards a more ethical, kinder planet.
Want to try our vegan, cruelty free products?