In this guide, we outline some key information about recycled toilet paper.
We discuss how it’s made, and what features it might have.
Summary – Recycled Toilet Paper, & How It’s Made
Recycled toilet paper:
– Can be made from 100% recycled sources, or only partially from recycled material (e.g. made from 50% recycled materials)
– Is usually made from post consumer paper waste, but, can also come from pre consumer wood sources (like wood off cuts and wood chips)
– Has a few extra steps in the manufacturing process compared to regular toilet paper, and for this reasons can be slightly more inefficient during this stage
– Might be more sustainable or eco friendly compared to regular and bamboo toilet paper in some ways, but it depends on how recycled paper material is collected, processed, etc. vs the sourcing process for virgin trees and bamboo plants
– Is still much more widely and commonly used compared to bamboo and recycled toilet paper
Where Recycled Toilet Paper Is Sourced
Recycled toilet paper comes from these post consumer paper waste such as colored and white paper, from sources such as offices, schools, and household mail
It is collected and re-used instead of going to landfill,
It can also come from pre consumer wood sources as well like off cuts and wood chips from wood that is being used for other purposes.
How Recycled Toilet Paper Is Made
Recycled toilet paper has additional steps compared to regular toilet paper
Some of these additional steps include separating metal waste (such as staples, pins and metal binders), and removal of ink.
This part of the process can sometimes be very inefficient.
After metal waste has been removed, ink has been removed, and the recycled paper has been been washed and mixed, it it then pulped and goes through a very similar process as regular toilet paper – read about the toilet paper making process here.
Some specific notes about making recycled toilet paper that might be different are:
– Metal waste is removed
For post consumer papers, they are gathered first and metal waste is removed.
– Paper Is Prepared
The different papers are then mixed together, washed and put in a solution that removes ink.
– Paper Is Pulverised & Pulped
– The paper is then pulverised and pulped in a chemical mix usually including water and detergent (this step can sometimes be done before the ink removal step)
– Pulp Is Turned Into Paper
From there it is mixed with a lot of water, sprayed onto screen, before being put onto reels
– Paper Is Chemically Treated
Oxygen, ozone, sodium hydroxide, or peroxide are then used to whiten/bleach the paper – this different to regular toilet paper which usually uses chlorine dioxide to bleach the paper.
– Chemical Waste
Sometimes, the chemical mix used to create the recycled paper pulp is re-used (once or twice or more), and then treated before being disposed of.
This can be different to regular toilet paper where the waste water may just be dumped without treatment or not re-used
– Finished Product
Toilet paper is packaged for sale
Features Of Recycled Toilet Paper
Some of the features of recycled toilet paper might include:
– Can be made of 100% recycled, or partially recycled paper mix (e.g. 25% post consumer recycled paper).
100% recycled can be a little less soft than the partially recycled paper due to recycled fibres being shorter
– Can be made of pre consumer or post consumer paper
Pre consumer recycled paper can include off cuts from timber used for other purposes
Post consumer recycled paper can include office, school and home paper, and other types of already used paper
– The recycling process still involves chemicals and energy to remove metal waste, clean the paper, remove the ink, and to break down and mix the recycled paper together.
In terms of eco footprint, this stage must be compared to the growing of virgin trees, cutting them down and processing wood chips for regular toilet paper.
– Some recycled paper uses only very minimal whitening/bleaching and minimal chemicals – this is another difference compared to regular toilet paper
Sometimes recycled toilet paper can be a brown or darker color if bleaches and whitening chemicals aren’t heavily used
– Recycled toilet paper can contain small amounts of BPA
– Usually in front of bamboo toilet paper for eco friendliness, and both of these options are in front of regular toilet paper
– Usually uses paper packaging for the toilet paper (instead of plastic packaging), and sometimes this packaging is recycled too
– Some recycled toilet paper comes without the cardboard core inside, whilst others come with the core but it’s recycled cardboard
– Bamboo toilet paper is usually as soft as regular toilet paper and as strong
– Might be more expensive than regular toilet paper, but still very affordable
– Might come with a money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with the product
– Some recycled toilet paper companies have a social cause they donate a % of profits to – such as building toilets for those who don’t have them
– Currently, recycled toilet paper only makes up a very small % of all toilet paper used – regular toilet paper made from virgin wood is the predominant toilet paper product used
Best Recycled Toilet Paper
The companies below were some of the more prominent companies at the time of publishing this guide.
At this point, we haven’t rated their products.
– 100% Post Consumer Waste Paper TP
Who Gives A Crap does a 100% post consumer waste paper recycled toilet paper product at the moment.
– Partially Recycled Paper TP
Other companies also do products that are different %’s of post consumer recycled waste paper.
Seventh Generation toilet paper is minimum 50% post consumer recycled paper
Georgia Pacific does an Envision toilet paper roll that is 25% post consumer recycled paper.
Regular vs Recycled vs Bamboo Toilet Paper: Comparison
You can read a comparison guide about differences between these toilet paper types, and which toilet paper might be best here.
Most Eco Friendly Toilet Paper Options
Read more in this guide about potentially the most eco friendly and sustainable toilet paper options