Toilet paper: Environmentally impactful, but alternatives are rolling out

By Petro Kotzé
March 15, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: International

While toilet paper use is ubiquitous in China, North America, parts of the EU and Australia, its environmental impact is rarely discussed. Environmentalists recently began urging people to be more aware of the real price paid for each roll — especially for luxury soft, extra-absorbent TP made from virgin tree pulp. Though not the global primary source of tissue pulp, large tracts of old-growth forest in Canada and Indonesia are being felled today for paper and tissue products, impacting biodiversity and Indigenous communities. Eucalyptus plantations to provide pulp for TP are mostly ecological deserts, and put a strain on water supplies. The environmental impacts of toilet paper occur all along its supply chain. Making TP is an energy- and water-intensive process, and also requires toxic PFAS and other chemicals. 

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