Great Deals on Recycled Toilet Paper & Why TP Shouldn’t Be at the Bottom of Your Green List

March 2nd, 2009

Perhaps you saw the news a few days ago: reports from Greenpeace, publicized in The New York Times, Fast Company, and the UK newspaper The Guardian, which emphasized the importance of choosing recycled toilet paper over “squeezably soft” brands, which get that softness from wood pulp found only in virgin forests.

Going green involves huge changes in buying behaviors: everything from food to clothing to houses, cars, and even toilet paper gets looked at with increased awareness of its ecological impact.

And for many of us — well, swapping out our favorite toilet paper brand is at the bottom of the list. I’ll admit it: I didn’t give much thought to recycled toilet paper, figuring that I’d just wait until the prices came down and the quality came up. Memories of scratchy paper from overseas didn’t do anything to encourage me to check out recycled toilet paper, and frankly, I didn’t realize the extent to which premium toilet paper is taken from old growth forests. (Read more of this disturbing news here).

So I took a fresh look at recycled toilet paper versus conventional, and found big changes in the marketplace. Did you realize you can buy recycled paper for less money than conventional toilet paper?

CVS recently introduced CVS Earth Essentials, recycled content napkins, toilet paper, and paper towels. I decided that at .89 cents a roll, I could spring for one, and put it to the test versus Scott bathroom tissues, available on the same drugstore shelf for $1.29 per roll, and Seventh Generation, available at Whole Foods for $1.39 per roll.

The verdict? Recycled toilet paper has come a long way. Yes, from the perspective of “The Princess and the Pea,” you do notice a bit of a difference, but it is very slight and not nearly enough to merit being called “scratchy.” The quality is equivalent to the type of toilet paper you find in most public buildings. It’s fine.

And it’s really cheap in bulk. After the successful home test, I returned to CVS to stock up. They’re running a sale on four packs of Earth Essentials, now $3.49, on sale from $4.69 through April 30th. That’s a $1.20 savings per 4-pack. But the savings really add up when you buy a 12-pack for $8.99. That’s less than 75 cents per roll. And if you have a CVS “ExtraCare card,” you may reap even more savings. My initial .89 cent purchase yielded a $5 off any $15 purchase, so when I returned to pick up the 12-pack, I added a few other things in my cart and saved even more.

The CVS Earth Essentials toilet paper rated a “Green Tree” stamp of approval from Greenpeace. (Unfortunately the other Earth Essentials products didn’t rank quite as highly as their toilet paper). Check out the Greenpeace guide here. Other good bets for best buys include the Trader Joe’s house brand and Whole Foods 365 brand. And don’t forget, you can often get 10% off a case of goods such as toilet paper at your local market – just ask! My Organic Market offers this discount plus a “best price” guarantee. Other good sources include CSAs, which often stock paper goods too.

So what are you waiting for? Take the switch to recycled toilet paper off the bottom of your list today!

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2009

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15 Responses to “Great Deals on Recycled Toilet Paper & Why TP Shouldn’t Be at the Bottom of Your Green List”

  1. WhyMommy on March 2, 2009 1:40 pm

    Great news that the price has come down! Thanks for the tips about CVS….

    So great to hear from you, Susan..thanks for stopping by! — Lynn

  2. Gruppie Girl on March 2, 2009 5:41 pm

    Thanks for the info! I had no idea that the impact was so great.

    Personally I have found a big difference between 7th Generation and CVS. Yes, CVS is the cheaper choice. But their paper is as thin as can be.

    Gruppie Girl: Thanks for the tip about 7th Generation! Guess I’ll have to run another family Tush Test! :) — Lynn

  3. Beth Terry, aka Fake Plastic Fish on March 3, 2009 11:57 am

    To avoid the plastic wrapping around packages of toilet paper, I get the 48-roll case of Seventh Generation from Amazon.com. The individually-wrapped rolls come in a cardboard box. It’s pretty cheap if you get a subscription. Here’s the link:

    http://www.amazon.com/Seventh-Generation-Bathroom-Tissue-500-Sheet/dp/B000C7OHFK

    Beth – you are such a wealth of resources on how to cope with less plastic. Thanks for reminding us of this option! — Lynn

  4. Alicia on March 4, 2009 1:13 pm

    Just checked with out CVS and it is definitely not .89/roll… more like $1.10. That’s disappointing. I want to save the earth, but why is it cheaper to be more destructive?!

    That’s so strange…why don’t you show this post to the manager of your CVS and ask why they can’t match the prices in other CVSs? Good companies respond to customers! Where are you located? — Lynn

  5. Donna on March 4, 2009 8:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing this!

    Now that I’ve used recycled TP and tissues for a while, the non-recycled kind seems too soft, almost linty. And when I ask myself if it’s worth cutting down a tree for this particular purpose, the answer’s always no.

    You’re welcome! It’s amazing how little changes come to seem routine after a while, isn’t it? — Lynn

  6. Anna (Green Talk) on March 9, 2009 5:36 pm

    Marcal, is NJ company, sells recycled content toliet paper as well. It may be available in your area. Many grocery stores sell it so it is convenient to purchase. I am having a hard time finding the 2 ply version of their toliet paper in the stores. The Company told me that it is online.

    There is actually a poop report that rates the different toliet papers. I kid you not. They rated “Sh*t be gone” as a better reycled content TP over 7th generation. (I am not pulling your leg about the name of this TP company.) I was so fascinated by TP that I did a whole article on recycled content TP and their percentage of post consumer paper used. This is how I found the poop report. (I know, Anna get a life…Now I know why boys laugh about bathroom humor.)

    No, Anna, now I know why you get along so well with boys! Just kidding, but boy you do have a funny side to complement all that great research you do! — Lynn

  7. julie power on March 19, 2009 11:05 am

    were you punning?
    Recycled toilet paper at the “bottom” of your list?
    And I think they need to rebrand it, like prunes became preserved plums. Recycled toilet paper conjures up toilet paper that’s been recycled (gross) instead of other paper that’s being reused.

    Mind you, growing up in Australia there were many outhouses … outside loos … where the only toilet paper was an old phone book on a hook or bits of torn up old newspaper. Nothing like wearing that day’s news . ..

    TMI?

    Yes, my dear, it was my attempt at a pun and it figures YOU were the only one to call me on it! You being one of the most clever and witty women I know! I’m with you on the rebranding initiative. Hmm…maybe I should pitch that? And no, not TMI…very interesting for conversation with Ozzies late at night! :) — Lynn

  8. Kate Strassel on March 19, 2009 7:10 pm

    I just came across your website, and it’s great! The best value I’ve found for recycled toilet paper is the Trader Joe’s brand: 12 rolls for $3.99! And it is not at all scratchy (believe me, my son would have told me).

    I can’t wait to read more of your blog!

    Kate

    Thanks, Kate, what a nice comment! I need to stop Twittering so much and start blogging a bit more, I think! :) Appreciate the tip about TJs. Wow. That’s just .33 per roll – I think that does win the recycled TP prize! — Lynn

  9. Sadie from allnaturalme.com on March 19, 2009 10:20 pm

    I use reusable cloth wipes! For the numbers ones, and for the poo, I reach for the recycled paper t.p. I like seventh gen and the cvs stuff’s pretty good too.

    I know a lot of green folks who only use cloth, but – or should I be corny and say butt – I deal with enough crap every day that I don’t feel like rinsing my own too.

    So if I’m lucky, with 3 busy kids and a stress-out bowel system, I’m using the paper t.p. once and cloth for all the rest of the bathroom trips which saves me a TON of money AND I earn major tree hugging points.

    And cloth wipes never wimp out, disintegrate or feel rough on the bits. And for just a few drops of pee, save a tree!

    Such a forward girl am I -
    Much love!

  10. Leslie on June 7, 2009 8:57 pm

    I just decided to retry recycled TP (did it years ago and it was awful). I tried Seventh Gen and Earth Friendly – both were close in price at Jewel Food Stores for the four pack. Both ended up being very similar in softness with Earth Friendly having a slightly softer feel. I think Earth Friendly was on sale at Jewel for $7.99 for 12 rolls, but that’s certainly not as cheap at Trader Joe’s brand. I’ll have to try that. Wish there was a TJ closer to me, but my friend was just yesterday regaling me with the cheap prices at TJs, so I guess I’ll have to make the trip. I have shopped at a Target Supercenter as well and wasn’t overly impressed with the quality of their organic fruits/veggies (apples were mealy) or the prices, but I’ll have to go again and check out TP this time.

  11. Lynn on June 8, 2009 6:24 am

    Thanks for sharing your tips, Leslie. You can’t win – I have a TJ’s near me, but not a Jewel or a SuperTarget!

    What I see consistently is that there’s such momentum for new recycled and sustainable products, that there is constantly more choice at a lower price point. When I started this blog, many more of these products were simply unattainable. Now I sometimes see organic and “green” products at comparable or even cheaper prices than traditional products. So it really makes sense to get out and check around once in a while!
    – Lynn

  12. Margaret on March 19, 2010 8:50 am

    Avoid the TJ toilet paper. it’s more greenwashing than green at only 10% post-consumer content. Also Seventh Generation has made a 352-ct. roll that is softer than their other rolls but still 80% post-consumer recycled. Check out the Greenpeace guide at http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/usa/press-center/reports4/tissueguide.pdf
    I buy the 7th generation 500-ct. double ply in bulk (48 rolls/carton) and pay about $1.00 per roll incl. shipping on Amazon. The price has fluctuated over the past year.
    and check out this piece
    American taste for soft toilet roll ‘worse than driving Hummers’
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/feb/26/toilet-roll-america

  13. Lynn on March 20, 2010 7:42 am

    Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

    I’m not quite sure where you got this info. I checked the Greenpeace guide you sent, and it gives TJ’s a “green” rating with 80% post consumer content. I also checked NRDC and they similarly give TJ’s a good rating. http://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/tissueguide/ratings.aspx

    Obviously, I love Seventh Generation as a company but I know even they would say, whatever you do, buy recycled. I don’t think TJ’s stocks Seventh Generation, so if you’re shopping there, the TP they sell is still a good deal and good quality recycled TP.

    Lynn

  14. Sonja on May 27, 2010 4:12 pm

    Unfortunately recycled content bathroom tissue contains BPAs. Why? Because when paper is recycled, thermal paper is also thrown in. Thermal paper is paper coated with plastic, as in credit card receipts.
    This is only a problem when you consider recycled content bathroom tissue is being flushed down the toilet, eventually contaminating ground water with build up of small amounts of plastic.

    I have one possible solution. I developed a new bathroom tisse made from (renewable and sustainable and grows sooo fast it does not need to be recycled)bamboo non woven fibers. Please check it out. It is soft, smooth, breaks down quickly, bpa free, elemental chlorine free, and is packaged in a 100% recycled cardboard box. http://www.bumboosa.com We also plant a tree for every product sold and we are committed to alleviating the burden on trees, whether those trees are from ancient forests or managed tree farms.

    If you sign up on our website, you will be notified of great discounts and free shipping.

  15. Lynn on May 30, 2010 7:09 am

    Sonja, I checked out your website and it looks like your company is very new. Great to see you are a signer of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Best wishes with your launch! Always great to see new eco-entrepreneurs! – Lynn

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