Bamboo is one of the top-selling eco-friendly alternatives nowadays because of its abundance and ease of production. Bamboo products have been all over online shops and even offline.
However, if you do want to know whether bamboo toilet paper is eco-friendly or not, you might want to read our article. So, is bamboo toilet paper better for the environment than regular toilet paper? Does it break down easily compared to the average commercial toilet paper? Is it a worthy investment?
We’ll find out below as we list down some fast facts about bamboo toilet paper and its composition, manufacturing, and features.
- 1 Manufacturing Bamboo Toilet Paper
- 2 Is bamboo toilet paper better for the environment?
- 3 Conclusion
Manufacturing Bamboo Toilet Paper
Bamboo toilet paper is fairly easy to make and uses a similar process that is used on traditional toilet paper. However, the difference lies in the use of bamboo paper instead of regular recycled paper or wood chips, which are from cut trees. Here’s how manufacturers make toilet paper from bamboo:
1. The bamboo plant is broken down into fibers using a machine.
2. These fibers are turned into bamboo pulp using another machine for mixing.
3. The bamboo pulp is then processed with soaking and pressing.
4. This process continues until the pulp turns into sheets of paper.
5. The paper is then dried into long sheets and measured for moisture levels.
6. Rolling the paper comes next and then cutting them appropriately for packaging.
7. Manufacturers start packaging the rolled paper and then shipping them out.
Is bamboo toilet paper better for the environment?
Yes, bamboo toilet paper, along with other bamboo products, are all eco-friendly. Bamboo is more sustainable and easier to replace than large trees that take years to grow. Here are reasons why bamboo toilet paper is considered eco-friendly:
They help preserve trees and forests
Bamboo toilet paper comes from bamboo, which is a type of grass – the largest of grass families, to be precise. When we depend on bamboo as our resource, we skip the trees in the forest, resulting in tree preservation.
Companies no longer have to cut down trees and displace animals and plants in there. Trees also serve as our absorbers of CO2 so that we breathe cleaner air and have a cooler climate in general. When we support bamboo toilet paper, we are encouraging companies to prevent tree destruction, causing the to be preserved.
Bamboo grows fast
Compared to regular trees, bamboos can grow up to 35 inches in 24 hours. Due to their fast growth rate, they have been constantly farmed by manufacturers as an alternative to trees and other raw materials. As we mentioned above, bamboo is technically grass so it will easily grow and therefore is a sustainable alternative.
Due to this fast growth, bamboo is not only quickly and readily available but also less costly compared to trees. While trees require certain legal permits to take down, bamboo easily grows due to its grass nature. Moreover, bamboo doesn’t require a lot of water and care so it’s easier to farm in a large-scale setup.
When less water is needed for farming anything, we are also conserving water for future generations. Hence, bamboo toilet paper manufacturing processes aren’t that wasteful with natural resources.
No use of harsh chemicals
Another major difference between regular toilet paper and bamboo toilet paper is the lack of chemicals. To create regular toilet paper from trees and wood pulp, you’ll need to bleach the paper, which is why it’s so white. On the other hand, today’s eco-friendlier bamboo toilet paper, although brown, is more eco-friendly because it doesn’t contain chlorines, fragrances, or dyes.
While some manufacturers may use natural alternatives for dyeing or adding fragrances to their products, many other companies don’t use additives at all. Therefore, manufacturing bamboo toilet paper puts fewer chemicals into our skin, our system, and our waterways.
Likewise, when companies manufacture regular toilet paper, they need to use pesticides and other chemicals to make the trees grow faster and healthier. The problem with that is that pesticides and harsh chemicals cause harm to the surroundings and the tree itself. With bamboo growing, you don’t need such chemicals because this grass doesn’t need a lot of care to grow fast.
Since bamboo toilet paper is made with eco-friendly practices in mind, they also resort to sustainable packaging. This means that you won’t find bamboo toilet paper using plastic or any non-biodegradable materials for their packaging. This leads to less plastic usage and has a plethora of benefits for mankind and nature in general.
Here’s what happens when we reduce plastic usage:
1. Less energy consumption. When companies manufacture plastic, they waste a lot of electricity in doing so. Companies don’t have to pay a large bill to maintain their manufacturing facilities so that’s favorable to our limited supply of electricity.
2. Less fossil fuel and carbon footprint. Most factories that create plastic items also expend fossil fuel and thus, contribute to carbon release, which is bad for our ozone layer.
3. Fewer exposed chemicals. Most plastics are manufactured with chemicals that are not only toxic to plants and animals but humans as well.
4. Better garbage management. When we lessen our plastic use, we will have more space in a dumpsite to carry our other garbage. Plastic stays forever, which is a scary thought. If we simply don’t create plastic packaging in the first place, our landfills could breathe easier and we wouldn’t have to look for additional space.
Likewise, in communities where garbage and littering problems are rampant, too much plastic could clog up drainage systems and create frustration for sweepers and the authorities
5. Reduced flooding. As mentioned above, since plastic has a big tendency to clog up drainage systems, the result is a higher tendency of flood staying and worsening our lives. In short, the garbage we throw into nature comes back to us.
Bamboo easily grows in most climates
Unlike certain types of trees, bamboo adapts easily to almost any climate. If you’re worried about where to plant bamboo, you don’t need to, because it will grow almost anywhere. With that said, bamboos grow best in very sunny weather with moist soil.
Due to this great adaptability, bamboos are considered great raw material resources without having to spend a lot of time gathering raw materials, taking care of them, and even importing from other countries, which is also costly.
Bamboos don’t break easily
There’s an Asian philosophy where people need to become like a bamboo – one who easily adapts to changes and sways with the wind, yet stays in one piece.
Therefore, if you make toilet paper out of bamboo, it won’t easily get destroyed, resulting in a product that’s not only eco-friendly but also very durable.
Bamboo is easily biodegradable
As it is a plant-based material, bamboo toilet paper won’t harm your septic systems and will not cause harm to waterways.
While both regular and bamboo toilet paper are made of natural materials because bamboo toilet paper is free from chemicals and processing, it has fewer effects on the environment and when you flush it down, it doesn’t cause harm to your sewage.
Animals won’t suffer
You might be thinking that pandas will starve when we farm bamboo for toilet paper, but that’s not the case. Pandas consume a different type of bamboo which is not the one used for manufacturing such. Therefore, bamboo production isn’t affecting pandas at all.
In the same way, since we’re using bamboo instead of trees, animals in the forest won’t be displaced out of their habitat. They also won’t starve because the forest is theirs to keep. When we depend more on bamboo products and less on tree-based products, we are giving a chance to let these animals live in peace with abundant resources and comfortable home.
Better land usage
Instead of having to own hectares of land just to farm trees for the production of regular toilet paper, bamboo only uses a portion of that land and it will work well. Therefore, producing bamboo toilet paper won’t have to cost a lot in terms of landowning and maintenance. We also don’t need to disturb the soil too much if we grow bamboo instead of trees.
To wrap it up, manufacturing bamboo toilet paper versus regular toilet paper made of wood pulp or recycled paper has a lot of benefits.
Bamboo grows faster and easier in almost any climate, which makes production convenient. It also requires less land to establish a bamboo farm and it doesn’t affect pandas compared to how cutting down trees affects forest animals.
So, the next time you go shopping for toilet paper, think about the environment for a second. Bamboo is the next generation’s sustainable raw material to give us a more abundant supply of toilet paper and other products that we can use daily.
By switching to a material that doesn’t use trees, we’re saving resources that are meant for our future generations and we also give the animals a place to call their home.
Name: Rebecca Tarvin
Discipline: Integrative biology
Degrees: B.A., Biology, Boston University, 2010; Ph.D., Biological Sciences, University of Texas at Austin,2017
Rebecca Tarvin is broadly interested in integrating studies of natural history with molecular genomics and phylogenetics. Specifically, she aims to elucidate causal genetic mechanisms underlying novel traits, characterize phenotypic diversification at macro and micro-evolutionary scales, and identify factors that promote and constrain biodiversity.
She also likes to write about eco-friendly lifestyle and other material alternatives that are eco-friendly, aside from other ways to save Mother Earth