Eco-friendly toilet paper
There’s no getting around it, the way many household products are manufactured, packaged, and delivered is not sustainable. With most businesses aiming to reach net zero by 2030, households up and down the country are doing everything they can to support the effort.
Businesses know this, and are increasingly vocal about their eco-credentials. This is great in cases where genuine improvements are being made, but there’s a lot of greenwashing out there. At Naked Sprout we want our customers to be equipped with all the facts so they can judge how well we are doing for themselves. So here’s a roundup of some common questions about the impact of toilet rolls on the environment.
What is the most environmentally friendly toilet paper in the UK?
On other pages we’ve covered the raw materials we use for Naked Sprout, and the lengths we go to to ensure these are sustainable. But the biggest environmental saving that can be made is in manufacturing. The process of mixing, shaping, and, this is the big one, drying the pulp that makes toilet rolls is incredibly energy intensive. Other companies use fossil fuels to power most or all of this process. More eco-conscious brands will then calculate the greenhouse gasses generated in their manufacturing and “offset” by donating to an organisation that plants trees in a bid to remove an equivalent amount of CO2 from the atmosphere.
At Naked Sprout, we are all for trees, and we are doing everything we can to protect the world’s existing forests. All of our products and packaging are made with bamboo or recycled material, and we only source our raw materials from sites certified for responsible forestry by the FSC. But planting trees isn’t the path to a sustainable future. On this point Greenpeace are unequivocal; we need to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, or remove them altogether, offsetting simply doesn’t cut it.
In order to make a difference, companies need to move away from offsetting and completely rethink their entire manufacturing process. So which toilet paper company is doing that? Since you’re on our website, you can probably guess. Naked Sprout is manufactured without fossil fuels - full stop. Our factory uses its own on-site solar, wind, hydro, and biofuel generators to power the machines that make our rolls At the moment there aren’t any tissue factories in the UK with a process that’s comparable. As far as we know, there aren’t any in the world.
What kind of toilet paper is best for the environment?
The emissions produced by the machines that dry and shape tissue pulp into their finished rolls are typically powered by fossil fuels and as the manufacturing process uses high amounts of energy – this stage can be extremely polluting. At Naked Sprout we’re going to extraordinary lengths to keep those emissions in check by only using renewable energy to power our manufacturing, but what about the other sources of pollution hiding in a box of toilet rolls?
Water is essential to all paper manufacture, mixing with harvested plant material to create the pulp that is formed into sheets. We take our stewardship of this resource seriously. We don’t add bleach or chlorine to our paper to whiten it, and we don’t add any dyes, fragrances, or harsh chemicals. This means that no unnecessary chemicals are being manufactured, transported, or drained back into the water supply.
At the end of manufacturing, our biological wastewater treatment plant uses microorganisms to break down the organic residue that has been created during manufacturing. This residue is combustible, so that it can be dried and fed back into the biomass boiler on site. The water left at the end of this process is so clean that it can be returned to the river near our factory in the same condition as it was taken - nothing goes to landfill or is wasted.
Is eco-friendly toilet paper worth it?
We’ve gone to a lot of effort building solar panels, filtering our water for material that can be reused, even reclaiming methane from local sheep herds around our factory! It’s not the easiest way of manufacturing toilet roll, and it’s not the cheapest either. Is it all worth it?
We wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t. Switching to Naked Sprout from bamboo tissue manufactured in China saves enough carbon to charge a smartphone 2,873 times. And switching from recycled paper manufactured in the UK saves enough to boil water for 1,000 cups of coffee.
If everyone in the UK made the switch to Naked Sprout, even if they were already using recycled paper manufactured in the UK, the savings would be the same as running 385 wind turbines for a whole year.
Calculations based on a report completed by the Carbon Footprint Ltd
Is Andrex toilet paper eco friendly?
We don’t like to call anyone out by name, but given their huge presence in our shops, workplaces, and households we should probably address the other UK loo roll brand with the dog.
Three companies Proctor & Gamble, Kimberly Clark, and Georgia-Pacific account for more than 80% of the toilet paper produced in the world – under brands we all know well such as Andrex and Cushelle.
With that kind of reach into the bathrooms the impact they can have is enormous and in recent years they have started to do more to address the sustainability of their products. However most of their toilet rolls still come wrapped in plastic. They are increasing the quantity of recycled material in their plastic packaging and are starting to offer paper packaging. They are also vocal about other green initiatives, such as reducing water usage at their mills and not sending material to landfill from their UK manufacturing sites.
We are always delighted to see really big companies making moves towards sustainability, but with manufacturing that still depends on fossil fuels, bleach, and plastic, we know they can do better. We’re proud to be going the extra mile at Naked Sprout to inspire change in tissue manufacturing across the board, so that the 8.5 billion rolls we use every year in the UK are as friendly to the environment as possible.
Shop Naked Sprout toilet roll here.
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