Did you know that the average American uses nearly 21,000 sheets of toilet paper a year—roughly the length of 23 football fields? That’s a crazy amount of toilet paper!
Years ago I made the switch to recycled toilet paper. After trying out several brands and scouring the internet for the best pricing, I found recycled toilet paper that could be delivered directly to my home (maybe not the most eco-friendly solution) on an as-needed basis.
Most recycled toilet paper is made from “Post-consumer” recycled content (PCR) PCR is paper that previously used in homes and offices (not used toilet paper!). It is then recycled as part of a recycling program rather than disposed of in a landfill.
Using toilet paper made from recycled materials is overall a better choice for forests and our water supply. There’s one small issue—BPA.
Is there BPA in my toilet paper?
The short answer is yes.
A study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology found traces of BPA (a known endocrine disrupter) in many recycled paper products, including toilet paper. The culprit seems to be thermal receipt paper, which is contributing the majority of BPA to our recycled products.
I’ve been talking about the dangers of BPA for years and I’ve watched as companies and industries moved forward and away from BPA. I’ve questioned the safety of the BPA replacements used once BPA is removed.
When we recycle receipts, lottery tickets, luggage tags, and shipping labels (all can contain BPA) they get mixed in with our other paper products and BPA eventually ends up in our recycled paper products.
The good news is that the concentrations of BPA in toilet paper are pretty small. We absorb much more BPA when we touch credit card receipts directly.
Recycled toilet paper is still a better option
Although there’s a slight risk of BPA exposure, recycled toilet paper continues to be a better option. Using a recycled product helps to “preserve trees, protect habitat, keep our water clean, and save energy.”
Best options for toilet paper
If you really want the best option it’s time to go paper-free. If the ick factor doesn’t bother you (it bothers me!) and you’re interested in going tp-free check out these reusable flannel wipes.
Using recycled toilet paper isn’t a perfect solution, but I’m going to stick with it.
I really love Seventh Generation’s transparency surrounding the BPA issue:
“We periodically test our household paper products for bisphenol-A, or BPA. In the past, these tests did not reveal any hint of this substance. Recently, however, a more sensitive test became available, allowing us to test for much smaller amounts of BPA, going from “parts per million” detection levels to “parts per billion” levels. This test revealed that a small amount of BPA was, in fact, present in our recycled paper products at these new detection levels.”
My favorite recycled toilet paper brands are:
It’s also time to stop throwing our receipts and other paper products that contain BPA into the recycling bin.
Are you a fan of recycled toilet paper? I would love to know what type of toilet paper you use.
Shout out to Darby Hoover and Margie Kelly at NRDC for their help with this article.
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