Trees vs. Toilet Paper

Feb 23, 2023

Why the toilet paper industry is winning and what we can do about it.

More and more people accept the idea that we have to change our habits if we want to protect our planet. We have a limited number of natural resources, so it’s our responsibility to ensure their longevity. 

Efforts to live a more sustainable life and decrease our carbon footprint are trending! You’re part of the in crowd if you’re taking steps to take care of Mother Earth. We have eco-friendly products and services available to us like never before, so it’s an exciting time to live sustainably!

With so many making switches to promote a more sustainable lifestyle, how do you think you stack up? It’s important for each of us to take a look at our everyday lives. 

Are any of your habits contributing to excessive waste? Is your TP of choice causing over-consumption of our natural resources?  At HeyBamboo, we want to help.

What wasteful household product could you swap for a more eco-friendly option? Here’s a hint: it’s often the simple necessities we miss when taking our environmental inventory.

Let’s talk toilet paper! We certainly consider it a necessity; it’s probably a staple on your weekly shopping list. Toilet paper is such a “no-brainer” supply that we often don’t consider how it contributes to negative impacts on our planet.

Because traditional toilet paper is a paper product, it requires the use of trees in its production, contributing to catastrophic forest loss worldwide. The good news is that there is another option. We don’t have to continue obliterating our woodland resources just for wiping!

Consider bamboo toilet paper your sustainable superhero! It’s at the ready to help reduce waste and lessen the destruction of our forests, one household at a time. 

It’s an easy purchase to make when you look at the level of loss the toilet paper industry has caused and what those effects can be on our environment.

The Devastation of Deforestation

Deforestation, the purposeful clearing of forested land, occurs for many reasons. Throughout human history, trees have been cut down and harvested to meet the needs of agriculture, animal grazing, fuel sources, and construction, and boy have we really been ramping it up!

Due to advances in manufacturing, our modern society has increased its use of trees to be put in products ranging from chemicals and pesticides to paper products and packaging. This increase has been taking its toll on our forests. 

Road construction, building upgrades, and population growth that results in the need for more housing are also culprits of our ever-increasing encroachment on these vital spaces of our planet.

According to National Geographic, about 2,000 years ago, 80 percent of Western Europe was forested; today, the figure is 34 percent. Nearly half of the forests in the eastern part of North America were used up for building materials and agriculture by the 1870s. Between 1990 and 2010, China lost over two million hectares of forest.

With a decrease in trees comes an increase in carbon dioxide. Trees take in this greenhouse gas during photosynthesis. With fewer trees around to absorb carbon dioxide, the gas accumulates in the atmosphere and accelerates climate change. 

Deforestation also disrupts our biodiversity. Countless species of plants and animals make their homes in our woodland areas. When forests are harvested, the habitats for these species are destroyed, which can lead to endangerment and even extinction.

Erosion is another issue. Removing trees leaves soil more vulnerable, putting other native plants in danger of losing the nutrients they need to thrive. Erosion due to tree loss is slowly turning once lush, moist forest areas into bare, arid spaces.

The Toll of Toilet Paper

The toilet paper industry is responsible for its fair share of eliminating our forests. Toilet paper production accounts for approximately 15 of deforestation worldwide.

The average person uses approximately 100 rolls of toilet paper each year, which equates to about 27,000 trees being flushed every day. Toilet paper is a billion-dollar industry that shows no signs of slowing. 

One of the most significant losses has been felt in the Canadian boreal forest. It’s said that this forest withholds twice as much carbon as the world’s oil reserves. Because of this, the Canadian boreal forest is considered one of the most climate-critical ecosystems on the planet. 

Each year, Canadian logging companies decimate one million acres of forest to meet toilet paper production demands. Estimates show that logging in the Canadian boreal forest alone releases 26 metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere. 
Add toilet paper’s short life cycle to the precious resources it requires to produce, and it’s no wonder that traditional toilet paper is considered a significant contributor to climate change.

Bamboo is a Better Bathroom Choice

If you want to help save the trees, make use of bamboo! Bamboo is a safe, natural, and environmentally friendly alternative to regular toilet paper.

Bamboo can be harvested to make toilet paper. The end result is the same: a comfortable and practical household necessity.

All the chemical processing that regular toilet paper goes through doesn’t happen during the production of bamboo toilet paper. Bamboo culms, or the main stalk, are broken down into small fibers, but unlike traditional toilet paper, there are no chemicals added during their soaking process. And for HeyBamboo, we take it one step further, and don’t bleach our toilet paper like some other brands.

Bamboo toilet paper only contains 100% bamboo fibers and nothing else. This is why you’ll see that bamboo toilet paper is a soft, light brown color; it’s the natural color of bamboo pulp.

What Helps With Deforestation?

Bamboo is often mistaken for a tree, but it’s not at all. Bamboo is classified as grass. This difference makes a bamboo crop much more sustainable. Bamboo has similar growth behavior as the grass on your lawn. It grows much faster than hardwood trees and regrows after each time it’s cut.

Some species of bamboo can literally grow three feet in just one day. They reach maturity very quickly. This is significantly different than hardwood trees which are used in the production of traditional toilet paper. It takes years for trees to mature. In fact, some areas that are being logged for toilet paper show no sign of regrowth, despite claims that new trees have been planted.

Harvesting bamboo doesn’t require the roots or soil to be disrupted. In fact, harvesting bamboo doesn’t even mean it needs replanting. Both of these qualities are meaningful to the environment. No soil disruption means that native soil ecosystems remain intact, and because it regenerates from its original roots, it takes less water to ensure successful growth. 

Water is another way bamboo is superior. Bamboo requires much less water than hardwood trees to grow to full maturity. A bamboo crop uses 30% less water than its tree counterparts.

Bamboo also releases more oxygen into the atmosphere. Planting bamboo crops means over thirty percent more oxygen will be released as compared to a tree cluster of similar size. Bamboo is also an excellent absorber of carbon dioxide. Raising bamboo for toilet paper production can have a direct effect on climate change.

Your Choices Can Make Change

Conservation efforts and responsible consumer choices can make an impact; we believe a collective effort swapping regular toilet paper for bamboo toilet paper can make a dent in deforestation!

We’re here to help you make the switch! HeyBamboo offers a premium bamboo product that lives up to our promises to the planet. Order now and enjoy carbon-free, good-conscience shipping; the product literally shows up at your door! To be fully stocked and solidify your true commitment to an eco-friendly lifestyle, subscribe to our monthly service and never run out of rolls.

If you’re full steam ahead on the path to living sustainably and haven’t switched your toilet paper product, now is the time! If you’re considering making some changes to protect our planet, bamboo toilet paper is an effective place to start! 

Show your bum, and our forests, some love.

The 89 Initiative
Environmental Journal
National Geographic