More than ever, consumers are becoming aware of how paper products are depleting our forests; especially papers such as toilet paper that are commonly made from virgin woods. Another thing that is building in public awareness is paper’s possible effects on ecosystems after it is used. Biodegradable toilet tissues are one of the best solutions to this issue. Toilet tissue is biodegradable in most circumstances. However, the amount of water required to degrade most tissue is usually pretty high.
How Is Toilet Paper Made?
Toilet paper is generally made from new or “virgin” paper, using a combination of softwood and hardwood trees. Softwood trees such as Southern pines and Douglas firs have long fibers that wrap around each other; this gives paper strength. Hardwood trees like gum, maple and oak have shorter fibers that make a softer paper. Toilet paper is generally a combination of approximately 70% hardwood and 30% softwood.
In an effort to conserve water, biodegradable toilet paper is called for. Its usefulness has already been proven in emergency situations where little water is available such as after damage from an earthquake, tornado or hurricane. There are many innovative kinds of biodegradable toilet paper being sold now that are made from materials not extracted from trees; including sugar cane and some materials that may sound odd, such as elephant dung.
Recycled paper toilet paper has been around for a long time and now is getting to be a more acceptable option. The company Marcel, who has been around the longest for recycled paper tissue products, is now having their products appear at stores everywhere, priced at or below their competitors. Here is a video review of Marcel 1000 Bath Tissue.
Other Options for Toilet Paper Products
- Kenaf is a hibiscus plant originally from Africa that is extremely fast-growing. Research has shown that one acre of kenaf can produce 11 tons of paper-friendly fiber! An acre of regular paper trees can take up to ten years to be harvest ready and would produce only around half the paper product that kenaf does.
- There many reasons to opt for sugar cane paper. It’s made from bagasse, which is the residue left over in the cane plant after the sugar has been extracted. Waste is reduced because it’s created from a surplus of by-product, which is good news! It’s also 100% biodegradable. Sugar cane paper is readily available to buy at many different stores.
- Bamboo may be a rising star in the treeless paper industry. It requires extremely little water to maintain and it has natural anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that make preserving it easier.
- Hemp has had a bad rap for its association with marijuana, but the crop has nonetheless turned out to be great for tree-free paper creation. Hemp is one of the most versatile crops in the world.
EnviroCitizen.org suggests that you research the different tree-free paper options available to you before choosing one. With so many options that are so readily available, we’re sure you’ll find something your whole family can agree on as an alternative to conventional toilet paper.