When you think about stuff that wrecks the environment, the usual suspects come to mind: plastic, oil, polystyrene, and all those non-biodegradable nasties. They’re bad, no doubt, but here’s one you might not have considered: toilet paper.

Wait, what? It breaks down, right?

It does, but that’s not the real problem. The issue comes from how it’s made – and what that does to the natural world around us.

Believe it or not, toilet paper seriously messes with the environment because of the deforestation, energy use, and water involved in making it. Some of the stats can be pretty mind-blowing and show just how important it is that we make a change.

Keep reading to find out the shocking impact regular toilet paper has on the environment, and what you can do to help fix it.

Toilet Roll in Production

Why is toilet paper production so harmful to the environment?

The biggest problem with toilet paper comes from what’s used to make it. Regular toilet paper is made from fresh wood pulp, which often means chopping down old-growth forests. This leads to massive swathes of forests getting wiped out, destroying natural habitats and causing an alarming drop in biodiversity.

Even once the trees have been cut down, the problems don’t stop there. Making paper requires a huge amount of water, which can be especially bad in places where water is already scarce. Manufacturing and transporting it also burns through a lot of fossil fuels, playing a major role in climate change.

Finally, even though toilet paper itself breaks down, the packaging it comes in often doesn’t. Many big-name brands wrap their rolls in plastic or other non-recyclable materials, adding to the world’s growing waste and pollution problem.

How much toilet paper do we produce?

Even though just 20% of the world’s population relies on toilet paper, we get through a lot of the stuff – about 22 billion kilometres of it every year, to be precise. That’s like going around the Earth almost 50,000 times!

Of course, how much you use really depends on where you live. People in Indonesia might only use about 26 kilometres of TP in their whole life, while the average Brit might go through around 950 kilometres. But no matter where you are, it all adds up to plenty of paper going down the drain.

All this toilet paper has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is trees – roughly 712 million of them every year. So, it’s not too shocking how bad the eco impact of regular toilet paper can be.

Toilet Paper Lengths
Green Bamboo

What alternatives to wood-pulp toilet roll are there?

Traditional toilet paper is a major eco-problem, and we can’t keep churning it out if we want to save our precious rainforests for future generations. Luckily, several eco-friendly alternatives exist today that can help our future stay green. Here are three of the most popular ones on the market today!

Recycled paper

Recycled paper is exactly what the name suggests: toilet paper made from recycled post-consumer paper, such as old newspapers, magazines, and cardboard. (Not used toilet paper, that’d be gross!).

Recycled toilet paper is better for the environment because it’s made from preexisting materials, which means fewer trees get cut down and less waste gets sent to landfills. However, it’s not perfect – it’s still tied to deforestation and uses finite resources, meaning it isn’t as eco-friendly as some other options out there.


Bamboo is another fantastic alternative to wood-pulp, and it’s even more eco-friendly than recycled paper. It’s one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, with some types shooting up three feet in just one day, so it’ll grow back way faster than the usual trees used for making paper. And as bamboo is a type of grass, not a tree, you don’t have to clear-cut the whole area to harvest it – as long as its roots are left unharmed, it’ll grow back again and again.


As good as recycled and bamboo papers are, sugarcane is the sustainability king.

Like bamboo, sugarcane grows super fast without needing to be replanted. Unlike bamboo, the fibres used to make sugarcane loo rolls (known as ‘bagasse’) are leftovers from sugar production. There’s no need to grow extra crops just for paper, saving a ton of water and land while cutting down on all the waste from sugar production!

Play your part towards a greener future with Sweet Cheeks

Now that you’ve seen just how bad regular toilet paper is for the planet, you might be thinking about making the switch to something more eco-friendly. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Sustainability is at the heart of Sweet Cheeks sugarcane toilet paper. It’s made from sustainably sourced sugarcane, comes in plastic-free packaging, and is packaged to reduce its carbon footprint as much as possible. Even better? It’s super soft and sturdy, and it won’t cost you a fortune!

Why not take a look at what we’ve got? We’ve got plenty of loo roll options for you to check out, so browse around and take a small step toward a greener future today!

Loo Roll