Biodegradable Toilet Paper - A Boon Or Bane in 2 Aspects?
Have you ever thought about using biodegradable toilet paper while using the toilet? Umm..!!! Maybe or maybe Not. But if you just ponder on it, you will surely be wondered.
Just in America, the average person uses 100 toilet paper rolls per year. Moreover, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study, above one million acres of trees (405,000 hectares) are consumed to produce conventional toilet paper each year. Imagine how much money we’re flushing out. Seems surprised, right?
It means there’s an immense need to emphasize switching to biodegradable toilet paper. But here is also a matter of concern whether it’s advantageous or not. While it may seem like a small change, its impact can be far-reaching. However, as with any new product or trend, there are both benefits and drawbacks to consider. Well! In this guide, you can come to know all of its aspects.
A Brief Note on Biodegradable Toilet Paper
Biodegradable toilet paper is manufactured using materials that can break down naturally. It is often manufactured using recycled paper, bamboo, or other sustainable fibers. These materials can decompose over time, usually within a few weeks or months.
Traditional toilet paper, on the other hand, is typically made from virgin tree pulp, contributing to deforestation and other environmental concerns.
The production of biodegradable toilet paper involves fewer chemicals and toxins, making it a more eco-friendly choice. Additionally, when biodegradable toilet paper is discarded, it can decompose relatively quickly, reducing the strain on landfills and minimizing pollution.
Sustainable Sources of Toilet Paper
There are a number of sustainable sources for manufacturing toilet paper. Like;
Recycling helps conserve trees, reduces deforestation, and decreases energy and water consumption in the production process. Look for toilet paper labelled as “recycled” or “post-consumer waste” to ensure you are choosing an eco-friendly option.
Bamboo grows in abundance all over the world in varying conditions. This is an up-and-coming star in not only living in a plastic-free world but, becoming paper-free too. To add to the benefits, it also has antibacterial qualities, so no need to add chemicals.
Some innovative companies are exploring alternative fiber sources such as wheat straw, sugarcane, and hemp. These materials offer similar properties to traditional wood pulp but with lower environmental impacts. By diversifying fiber sources, we can reduce our reliance on trees and create a more sustainable toilet paper industry.
Now, get to know some of the most useful and eco-friendly fiber sources!
Sugar cane paper
Made from bagasse, which is a by-product leftover from making sugar. With sugar in such high demand, it’s unlikely to ever run out. Another nice thing is it cuts down on the excessive waste left behind from the production of sugar.
It’s one of the most versatile plants in the world, yet it still has a bad reputation due to marijuana usage. With hemp being in abundance in most US states, it’s a very viable solution to deforestation problems.
Is a ridiculously fast-growing plant. Research showed that one hectare of Kenaf could produce fifteen tons of paper-friendly materials. That’s a crazy amount of paper for such a small area.
Ponder on the Biodegradability of Toilet Paper
Toilet paper, at its core, is made from paper pulp derived from trees. The paper itself is biodegradable, which means it can break down naturally over time. However, the process of turning paper into toilet paper involves additional steps and materials that may affect its biodegradability.
The primary concern lies in the bleaching process. Many toilet paper brands use chlorine or chlorine compounds to bleach the pulp, giving it a bright white appearance. Chlorine-based bleaching agents can introduce toxins into the environment, and the resulting paper may take longer to biodegrade. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the production process and choose toilet paper made with environmentally friendly bleaching methods.
How to Choose Biodegradable Toilet Paper
Choosing biodegradable toilet paper is an important step towards sustainability. Here are some factors to consider when making your selection.
Choose toilet paper that is made from sustainable materials like bamboo, recycled paper or hemp. These materials are renewable, biodegradable, and have a lower environmental impact than virgin wood pulp.
Look for toilet paper that is manufactured using green processes. Avoid toilet paper that has been treated with bleach, as this can release harmful chemicals into the environment. Instead, opt for toilet paper whitened with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) or ozone (O3).
Check whether the toilet paper has any certifications from independent organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). These certifications ensure that the toilet paper has been produced sustainably and that the manufacturing process meets environmental and social standards.
Is Biodegradable Toilet Paper / A Boon Or Bane?
As each coin has two sides, similarly biodegradable toilet paper highlights both positive as well as negative impacts. Just see their demonstration and get surprised! 😲
Positive Environmental Impacts
By using alternative materials like bamboo or recycled paper, biodegradable toilet paper helps to preserve forests and protect biodiversity. Thus, it can help minimize the demand for virgin wood pulp.
Forests play a crucial role in carbon sequestration, acting as natural sinks for greenhouse gases. By reducing deforestation, biodegradable toilet paper indirectly contributes to mitigating climate change and preserving vital ecosystems.
Lower Carbon Footprint
By using recycled materials or sustainable alternatives like bamboo, biodegradable toilet paper can help lower the overall carbon footprint associated with its production and disposal.
As biodegradable toilet paper breaks down more easily than conventional options, it has the potential to divert waste from landfills and sewage treatment plants, reducing the strain on these systems.
As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of their choices, they are increasingly seeking out products that align with their values.
By supporting the production and use of biodegradable toilet paper, individuals can contribute to the demand for sustainable alternatives, encouraging manufacturers to prioritize eco-friendly practices and materials.
Challenges & Consideration
While biodegradable toilet paper offers eco-friendly benefits, the manufacturing process can still contribute to environmental concerns. It requires energy, water, and chemical inputs, which may have associated impacts such as water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and resource depletion.
Packaging and Transportation
Biodegradable toilet paper products often come packaged in plastic wraps or non-recyclable materials, which can undermine their sustainability credentials. Additionally, transporting these products over long distances can increase carbon emissions, especially if imported.
The effectiveness of biodegradable toilet paper largely depends on proper disposal. If it ends up in landfills or is mixed with non-biodegradable waste, its benefits may be compromised. Raising awareness among consumers about the correct disposal methods is crucial.
How Much Time Does it Take to Biodegrade?
The time it takes for toilet paper to degrade depends on various factors, such as; environmental conditions, thickness, and composition.
In general, untreated toilet paper made from natural fibers can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months to break down completely. However, toilet paper that has been treated with chemicals, especially chlorine-based bleaching agents, may take longer to degrade.
It’s important to note that the rate of degradation can vary significantly in different environments. In composting systems or in the presence of microbes, toilet paper can break down more quickly. However, in landfills, where oxygen and sunlight are limited, degradation can be much slower, taking years or even decades.
Looking Beyond Toilet Paper
While transitioning to biodegradable toilet paper can be a positive step towards a more sustainable bathroom routine, it is crucial to recognize that other factors also contribute to the overall environmental impact.
For example, to reduce overall toilet paper consumption, you must have to;
- Promote bidets or water-efficient toilets
- Adopt sustainable practice
The entire supply chain can have a more substantial effect on environmental conservation.
Biodegradable toilet paper presents an opportunity to mitigate some of the environmental concerns associated with conventional options. Using recycled materials or rapidly renewable resources, it helps reduce deforestation and the carbon footprint.
However, challenges related to production processes, packaging, transportation, and consumer behavior must be addressed to maximize its positive impact. Ultimately, adopting a holistic approach to sustainable waste management and considering alternative solutions beyond toilet paper can lead to a more significant and lasting environmental benefit.