Toilet paper is a touchy subject. Everyone has their favourite type, and trying to change anyone's mind on their choice of loo roll is usually a losing game.
But if you're looking for a plastic free swap, you need to look at the whole picture, not just the bit of the ad that says 'plastic free'.
Why Buy Imported, Plastic Free Toilet Roll?
The simple answer is that you shouldn't buy imported toilet roll, because it is massively polluting.
Loads of toilet roll is made in the UK, including a lot of the recycled stuff. And if you want something plastic free, UK-made, and 100% recycled, there is a really easy solution in the form of Ecoleaf.
It's wrapped in material made from potato starch, and the loo roll itself is 60% paper waste from our green bins. And it's not expensive compared to the same-size pack of a big brand like Andrex.
In contrast, some plastic free toilet roll is made in China. Consider the fact that the world's 15 (or 16, depending on which paper you read) largest container ships emit the same amount of carbon dioxide as all of the world's cars.
Governments and businesses all over the world are content to turn a blind eye to container shipping, despite the fact that it's a massive contributor to the climate crisis we find ourselves in, and so-called eco brands are still unnecessarily using these ships to import very bulky products that don't need to be imported.
When you think about it, shipping toilet paper thousands of miles around the planet is actually quite entitled.
Cut the Wrap
Finally, let's talk about wrapping toilet paper in paper rather than potato starch. Is that a good idea?
Well, I've never heard any hospital anywhere in the world cite unwrapped toilet paper as a hygiene risk, so I don't think toilet paper needs to be wrapped for that reason.
I guess the bright colours of external wrapping could make toilet paper look nice on social media....?
But it's a waste however you look at it. Extra paper wrapping and printing is not consequence-free. Compared to plastic bags, paper bags require four times as much energy to make.
So if you're hoping to swap toilet roll in plastic for Plastic Free July, can I suggest that you look at where the toilet paper comes from, and whether you're paying for extra things that are just adding to its carbon footprint.
(Or, alternatively, just buy Ecoleaf.)