Thanks to Reel Paper for sponsoring this post. Let’s talk about zero waste toilet paper!
I’ve tried to convince my partner several times to switch over to a non-toilet paper option like a bidet or family cloth. He is not. having. it.
And here’s the thing: he grew up in the midst of the collapsing USSR in a small house with no indoor plumbing save one sink. Using the toilet was a small trek to the wooden outhouse. (I can tell you from experience using an outhouse in the Russian winter is not pleasant.)
The luxury of toilet paper is real. And I respect that.
Because we can’t force those around us to embrace zero waste swaps and expect them to stick. So in the full interest of embracing an imperfect approach to zero waste living, I try to choose toilet paper that’s slightly less damaging to the environment than what’s typically available.
Enter Reel Paper.
Made from natural bamboo toilet paper, Reel Paper is a lower impact, plastic-free alternative… without giving up on the toilet paper some of us can’t quite move away from yet.
Why bamboo toilet paper?
A 2019 report by the NRDC estimated 270,000 trees are cut down every day for toilet paper production. Grim enough, right? But it gets worse:
“Much of the tissue pulp in the United States comes from the boreal forest of Canada. This vast landscape of coniferous, birch, and aspen trees contains some of the last of the world’s remaining intact forests, and is home to over 600 Indigenous communities, as well as boreal caribou, pine marten, and billions of songbirds.”
Destruction of Indigenous lands and natural wonder to wipe your butt is just not it, y’all.
Bamboo, on the other hand, provides a much less invasive answer to the toilet paper situation:
- Certain types of bamboo are the fastest growing plants in the world, making it an easily regenerative option.
- Bamboo is harvested at the base, leaving the root system intact, which can help with reducing soil erosion.
- Bamboo requires significantly less water than hardwood trees.
It just makes sense that if you choose to use toilet paper, it comes from something less majestic and slow-growing than a tree felled by industrial logging.
And while it’s not technically “zero waste”, this zero waste toilet paper is minimally invasive to the environment and comes with no excess or plastic packaging. Big win!
So ecologically, Reel Paper makes sense. But what about ethically?
Choosing an ethical zero waste toilet paper
I’m happy to say that Reel Paper does have the added component of giving back. This ticks the box for anyone looking for a company that’s both sustainable and ethical. Because really, what’s one without the other?
As the site says,
Every day, 2.4 billion people are forced to defecate outside — meaning lost dignity, exposure to deadly pathogens, increased risk of contaminated water, and loss of life.
Using the outdoors as your toilet can be fun for an overnight camping experience, but within communities that are unable to manage waste appropriately, it can be a truly deadly situation.
To that end, Reel Paper has partnered with SOIL since 2006. Each purchase from Reel Paper helps serve communities in Haiti in two ways: first, by providing toilets to keep communities safe and aquatic systems protected. Second, by collecting waste and turning it into compost sold to support agricultural systems in the area.
(I’m especially happy that one of the two founders grew up in Nigeria, where his early life experiences informs the work they do and ensures it’s actually meeting the needs of those they serve. No white-savior-driven stuff going on here!)
It’s truly an incredible, low-waste mission.
So if you or someone in your family isn’t ready or willing to make the jump into a toilet paper free bathroom, Reel Paper is a great compromise toward zero waste toilet paper. Remember: zero waste is more than a plastic bag (or a piece of paper) – social justice and equal access to safe, healthy environments are equally important.
The deets on Reel Paper
So here’s the deal:
The boxes come with 24 rolls ($29.99) and are delivered directly to your door, either one-off or on a subscription basis. Especially in these COVID times, it’s great to get things delivered directly to your door.
Plus, you can use code PLASTICFREE for 25% off your order through August 1st!
Best of all, it comes your door with zero packaging except for the recycled paper wrapping around each roll.
Partner-approved and with a box tucked away in our little closet, I’m happy we’re able to come to just one more compromise (in a string of many) on how we can find a zero waste lifestyle that works for both of us.
Thanks again, Reel Paper!