I don’t normally do product reviews or make product recommendations, except in passing when I am posting about something else. And in the interest of disclosure: I was not requested, or paid by any company to review their products. Any facts in this post were collated from their websites and all products were purchased by me.
However these products are essential supplies for (most) first world households, so it’s important we consider a sustainable and more environmentally conscious approach. By changing our approach to “the basics”, we’re building consciousness and a scaffold to make bigger changes. And we’re ensuring our money talks to the corporations who measure their success by $ we spend: we can be the change we want to see in the world.
Or as Paul Kelly said: from little things, big things grow – although admittedly he was talking about The Gurindji Strike and Vincent Lingiari – and not blowing your nose or taking a crap.
I normally buy SAFE toilet paper, it’s endorsed by Planet Ark and is:
- made from 100% recycled paper
- not re-bleached
- Australian made and owned
- FSC accredited – with fibre sourced from responsibly managed forests
- comes in large 400 sheet rolls to reduce packaging and transport
When my local shop was an IGA that was an easy enough exercise: go into shop with shopping list, purchase items off list including toilet paper, go to checkout and pay. Easy peasy.
…but a couple of months ago, my local Coles stopped stocking it. So I had to travel further and my shopping habits became: go into shop with shopping list, purchase items off list excepting toilet paper, go to checkout and pay. Then go to a different shop, purchase SAFE toilet paper, go to checkout and pay. Not so easy peasy. One might almost say: somewhat inconvenient and painful.
Additionally: I was still buying Kleenex tissues: I have bad hayfever and get bad sinus infections and colds, so I will always have tissues. I will likely have several sheets folded in my handbag of the moment (more in my work bag), plus a box by my desk, bed and sofa. I go through a lot of tissues. Plus they are handy for other things: emergency napkins etc. I don’t have a box to check, but Kleenex’s environmental statement indicates Kleenex Facial Tissue:
- Has FSC Forest Stewardship Council certification
- Has support of WWF to continuously promote environmentally sustainable products
- Still using wood, but it is FSC wood
- Does not discuss sustainable manufacturing process beyond environmental approach
- Profits do not considerably contribute to social good (at 50% of profit donated, WhoGivesACrap is very focused on social good, as well as environmental and social sustainability)
So the situation was ripe for a change: I am (relatively) happy with where I shop, as it’s conveniently on the way home…but it was now no longer meeting all my needs. Mainly for my brand of loo paper…but also for Passata, diced canned tomatoes, quinoa, and semi sundried tomatoes in a jar. This was starting to make me grumpy: I don’t like to have to go to several different stores for items that I could previously get in just one store. Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy.
I saw a sponsored post for Who Gives A Crap toilet paper on Facebook, and it seemed worthwhile investigating.
Plus the packaging appeared to be predominantly paper-based, while SAFE’s extra long toilet rolls come in plastic (or waxed paper if you are lucky enough to find that version). Minimising plastic is also a good thing.
And convenient: delivered to my door, plus if I ordered above a certain amount there would be no shipping (You’ll note WGC products are predominantly packed in cardboard and wrapped in paper: to my untutored eye, the only plastic was the strapping and tape holding the boxes together.)
Obviously doesn’t allay any “I’m all out…” moments, but given it’s a bulk order, it had potential. Plus the company does regular subscriptions, so once you know how often you go through the tissues and loo paper, you can set a regular order 😮
Who Gives A Crap toilet paper is:
- 100% recycled post-consumer waste paper
- Australian owned, but with a primary mission of improving lives of people in the developing world, so the toilet paper is produced in China where they are the primary customer of a fairly small production facility so we’re able to closely monitor labor conditions, quality and environmental issues
- Where plastic is used, it is oxobiodegradable: depending on the local environment, the entire wrapper will biodegrade, leaving no rubbish or harmful residue. This process takes approximately 12 to 24 months to complete (compared with up to 1,000 years for regular plastic).
- Comes in double length rolls that are 400 sheets long
- Not re-bleached: they don’t use any chlorine, inks, dyes or weird perfumes in their toilet paper, just pulp the clean fibres at super high temperatures
While their tissues are:
- Tree-free tissues
- Made of mix of bamboo and sugarcane—both of which are grown sustainably
In both instances, WhoGivesACrap donate 50% of their profits to WaterAid, an organisation with deep experience and skill in implementing high impact sanitation projects throughout the developing world.
I compiled this list from the FAQs, product pages and impact story on their website: au.whogivesacrap.org/pages/faqs
|Quantity||Product||Comparative Cost of Previous Brand||Pros/Cons|
|1||Forest Friendly Tissues – 12 Boxes
Current online price $24.00
|Kleenex 2 Ply White Facial Tissues 250 pack Based on Coles’ Current online price $3.30||
|1||100% Recycled Toilet Paper – 24 Double Length Rolls
Current online price: $30.00
|SAFE Toilet Tissue 2ply 400 sheets – 6 double length rolls
Based on previous shopping dockets ~$6.86+
|1||Shipping (Delivery option selected)
Free if you order over $20.00
|Most metro delivery fees range between $4 and $14, or free with Flexi-free delivery for 8 hour delivery windows and min spend $150*.||
Given I now can’t buy SAFE double length rolls online, and my minimum order for the double length rolls means I spend enough to get free shipping: purchasing the loo paper from WhoGivesACrap does seem the most economical option.
And given any savings in price is mostly ameliorated by the different shipping prices, it’s definitely worth purchasing the toilet paper. I purchased on January 13, they arrived the next week and have lasted so far although I will purchase another box this week (so they are lasting ~5 weeks, going on 6 if I want to subscribe…).
I’m debating the tissues: they aren’t as competitive cost-wise, although in terms of sustainable purchasing: from both a social, economic and environmental point-of-view; WGC is probably the clear leader. I will have to look out other tissue manufacturers to see what else is available.
Update: 28 February
I’ve just purchased a box of 48 x 100% Recycled Toilet Paper – Double Length Rolls from WhoGivesACrap at the current online price of $48.00, that makes a pack of 6 = $6.00, if I want to compare equivalent costs per quantity. Shipping is free, which makes it the cheapest way to purchase environmentally and socially sustainable toilet paper that I have found so far,
I have separately found an alternate green tissue product, will review that in a future post 🙂