Now that we are two months into our weekly challenges, you are probably running out of items and looking for sustainable alternatives. So let’s change focus a bit and spend the next few weeks shining the sustainability spotlight on a few household swaps that lower our eco-footprint in a big way.
We will start by looking at toilet paper, a household staple that many buy without much thought. It might seem like a harmless, compostable product; but yikes… Toilet tissue has issues! Not only is toilet paper typically packaged inside single-use plastic film, most rolls on the shelves of grocery and big box stores are sourced from virgin forest fiber.
The average American flushes 141 rolls of toilet paper each year!
In 2020, 10.4 million acres of virgin forests were destroyed. That’s the size of the Netherlands, and 12% higher than the previous year.
About half of the forests that once covered the Earth are gone. Each year, another 16 million hectares of trees are cut down; and the World Resources Institute estimates that only about 22% of the world’s old growth forest cover remains.
Toilet paper manufacturing has such a terrible impact on the planet, the NRDC releases an annual “report card” that grades 44 brands of toilet paper. A quick glance shows most well-known traditional brands receive a grade of “F” for sustainability. Although consumers haven’t had much choice in the past, the arrival of several sustainable alternatives in the last few years now gives consumers the choice to wipe their bottoms without wiping out virgin forests.
Stopping deforestation is one of the fastest and most cost-conscious solutions to tackling our climate emergency, conserving wildlife and defending the rights of forest communities.Greenpeace
Fortunately, there are several toilet paper brands that are showing up for sustainability by manufacturing rolls with 100% recycled paper or fast-growing bamboo. Bamboo grows with very low maintenance and water, and is naturally pest-resistant. Plus, with over 1,200 different species of bamboo in existence, most are highly adaptable and easily thrive in a variety of regions of the world. Considering that 27,000 trees are cut down every day to make toilet paper, shifting to a low-impact alternative is a simple way to make a huge difference.
We’re excited to see such growth in the variety of sustainable brands on the market. At SHIFT, we carry the brand that tops the list on the sustainability report card: Who Gives A Crap (100% Recycled). With an “A+” rating from NRDC, Who Gives A Crap offers rolls hygienically wrapped in 100% plastic-free packaging. Even better, they are on a mission to support communities in need—50% of their profits are donated to sanitation projects for communities around the globe. To date, they have given almost $8 million in funding worldwide. How cool is that?! A humble roll of TP can help people and the planet.
So this week, commit to making this simple swap. You will be helping to reduce deforestation, support communities, preserve biodiversity, and curb plastic pollution one flush at a time. As always, be sure to #shareyourshift to inspire others!