I am not one to promote products because I believe as a society we consume WAY too much but toilet paper… well, toilet paper is a necessity and why not do a little good whilst we’re at it?
I’ll be honest, I have come across the brand “Who Gives a Crap” a few times and have dabbled here and there but never completely converted. Why? Because at the time it seemed expensive and I hated the idea that even toilet paper was becoming a point of elitist identity; another way of saying, “I’ve got cash to splash in my bathroom”, so I steered clear. Anyway, a few friends have been talking about WGAC toilet paper and I decided to take the time to investigate. When I sat down to do the numbers and research the company, I was actually surprised.
Here are my findings.
MATERIALS – 4.5 STARS
First things first, I always thought the whole range of WGAC was made from recycled toilet paper but they’re not. There are two options – 1 x 100% recycled and 1 x premium 100% bamboo. The recycled is the entry level and the 100% bamboo is considered premium.
So which is more environmentally friendly? It’s hard to say. 100% recycled has it’s pro’s being 100% recycled however, there has been some issues with recycled toilet paper containing BPA (from old receipts and newspapers being used in the process, you can read about BPA here. ). The good news? The team at WGAC mention that they focus on sourcing high quality raw materials from schools local to our factory, which consist of office paper, books and notebooks – none of which should contain BPAs. They also mention that they conduct BPA testing on a regular basis with a third party test agency to assure this is the case however they cannot guarantee this is the case 100% of the time. The fact that they are aware of it is good news in my book.
For the 100% Bamboo? The environmentally friendly aspect comes in part, from the fact that they don’t use trees, but bamboo. Before we go any further know that the rate at which forests are being cleared for toilet paper is astronomical so this is a plus.
When I questioned the team about how they source their bamboo, they told me that:
“Our bamboo is predominantly grown in remote areas of Sichuan Province, China by local farmers who plant bamboo on the borders of their small family farms to supplement their income. Unlike industrial agriculture (like special plantation forests created for toilet paper and other paper products) no vast areas of land are cleared. On top of this, the bamboo process is all very localised. Sourcing bamboo this way means there’s no adverse affects on natural forestry or wildlife”.
I’d give 4.5 STARS for recycled material because of the potential issues with BPA. In comparison with other recycled brands though? 5 Stars.
REDUCED CHEMICAL EXPOSURE – 4.5 STARS
But 5 Stars for being ahead of all of their competitors 🙂
For those of you who didn’t know, toilet paper is bleached white. Why? Well there are a few reasons:
- It looks better. Would you or would you not be a little apprehensive to use brown paper to wipe your most sensitive areas? Market research says no, so they bleach it white to encourage you to wipe away 🙂
- It softens the paper. Yes, you heard it here first. The bleaching process can be used to remove lignin, a polymer in wood that to some extent functions as a “glue” to hold the fibres together and makes the tree more rigid. The bleaching process removes lignin and as a result the paper isn’t so rigid.
- It can improve shelf life. Removal of lignin can improve shelf life of the product 🙂
Anyway, despite the health concerns associated with putting bleached paper and other chemicals near the most sensitive area of your body, and the environmental impact of using such products, the toilet paper companies continue to bleach their products so you buy their products, which makes sense doesn’t it!
However, the team at WGAC use elemental free chlorine, which means chlorine dioxide rather than chlorine gas. Whilst there still is an environmental impact, the use of elemental free chlorine greatly reduces the level of organo-chlorines that make it out into the environment. They are also working towards releasing an unbleached version.
They would score a 5 STARS by using a total chlorine free process however, I’m not entirely sure this is available for toilet paper as yet.
COMFORT – 4.5 STARS
I’ve purchased my fair share of “environmentally friendly” toilet paper in the past and let’s just say the vast majority are not all they’re cracked up to be (pardon the pun). There are times where you question whether or not saving the environment is worth it?? But the “Who Gives a Crap” range is miles ahead of the competitors in terms of overall feel and comfort on an environmentally friendly front. MILES.
If you’re after premium softness though, you honestly can’t go past the 100% bamboo.
STRENGTH – 5 STARS
The best recycled toilet paper I’ve come across in terms of strength.
PACKAGING – 5 STARS
A huge tick from me given that it’s not plastic (FINALLY) but additional waste of wrapping each roll individually bugs me a little. I jumped over to the WGAC website for more information on this matter and found this:
“We have to wrap our rolls in something to keep them moisture-free and hygienic. We looked at different options when we started out, but settled on individual paper wrappers for a couple of reasons…
… From an environmental perspective, if wrapping in paper the most you can wrap together is 6 rolls. This might seem more sustainable, but you actually need a much thicker paper to do this. The net paper used (by weight) to wrap a 6 pack in heavy duty paper vs. six individual rolls in the thin tissue paper we use is effectively the same, so there isn’t a good environmental case for paper 6 packs over our single roll. The only other option would have been to wrap all 48 rolls in a big outer plastic wrap, which we chose to steer clear of”. Mystery solved.
In a seperate feed they mention that the wrappers can be both composted or recycled.
PRICE POINT – 5 STARS
This is where I thought WGAC would let me down, retailing for approximately $48 for 48 rolls, but what I didn’t realise is that each roll was DOUBLE LENGTH which equated to approximately 400 sheets! This means we’re looking at approximately 25c per 100 sheets of the standard roll. Not bad! Leading supermarket brands at 180 sheets per roll (you know the GOOD STUFF), retail for approximately 26c per 100 sheets in value packs. WINNER WINNER!
The premium brand is obviously a tad more expensive at 31.5c per 100 sheets.
- The product is Australian owned (WOO!) however, it is manufactured overseas for a number of reasons. Whilst this may reduce operating costs and improve profit margin, the team at WGAC has answered all your qualms in a post here.
- They deliver! And delivery is usually FREE!
- Subscription service means you’ll never run out of toilet paper again! I’ll be honest, I was concerned that I was going to end up with too much toilet paper on a subscription service BUT they send you an email reminder 3 days before they process the order, so you have time to postpone delivery and you can cancel at any time.
- 50% of profits are donated to building toilets in those places that need it most. Sanitation is one of the keys to good health and as such this initiative is something I support wholeheartedly.