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The Ultimate Guide to Eco-Friendly Toilet Roll

plastic-free toilet paper uk

Looking for the ultimate guide to sustainable and eco-friendly toilet roll? Let me talk you through the options available in the UK right now. From plastic-free brands to recycled toilet paper brands, and more. And for those of you who love a spreadsheet, then you’re in for a treat!

To help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

In 2019 I wrote a guide to the best plastic-free toilet paper. I wasn’t sure how interested Moral Fibres readers would be in this topic, but boy, was it a hot one. It turned out that people were very invested in toilet paper. I then found out last year that people are incredibly invested in toilet paper when people started hoarding toilet paper and fighting over it in shops. I don’t know about you, but at this stage of the pandemic, March 2020 feels like a lifetime ago. So, for old time’s sake, let’s bring back the loo roll chat.

What has changed since 2019 is the proliferation of eco-friendly toilet roll companies. I swear, in the last 12 months, every time I browse Instagram or Facebook, I’m served an advert by yet another eco-friendly toilet paper brand.

The choices can be overwhelming, so let’s see if I can help you navigate the toilet roll maze, by looking at the various eco-friendly, sustainable, and ethical factors to consider.

guide to eco-friendly toilet roll in the UK, from the plastic-free brands to the recycled paper brands

What Is The Most Eco-Friendly Toilet Roll?

When it comes to the most eco-friendly toilet roll, as with any item, the most eco-friendly option is always the reusable option. Family cloth* as it’s cringingly known. Single-use products always have a higher environmental impact. However, family cloth isn’t always the most appealing swap. My family certainly aren’t on board with the idea, so we stick with disposable toilet roll.

You do what works for you, and continue to remember that oil and gas companies created the concept of the individual carbon footprint to make you think that climate change is your fault, and not the fault of the oil and gas industry.

If family cloth isn’t for you, then it turns out it’s incredibly tricky to say for sure what is the most eco-friendly toilet roll available right now.

Some brands use virgin bamboo, and ship their products from China, yet are plastic-free. Meanwhile, some brands use recycled paper and make their products in the UK, yet wrap their toilet roll in plastic.

Some brands wrap their toilet paper in individual wrappers, adding to their carbon footprint. Other brands don’t wrap their rolls, but they do bleach their toilet paper with chlorine to make it whiter. In short, there is a lot to consider.

There’s also the matter of budget – some brands cost almost 3 times as much as others for the same amount of toilet paper.

To help you navigate this tricky toilet paper decision-making, I’ve scoured shops and the internet for as many eco-friendly toilet rolls as I could find. I’ve then scored their eco-credentials. In fact, I’ve put together the ultimate spreadsheet, allowing you to quickly compare brands and chose a toilet roll that fits with your values and potentially your budget. I love a good spreadsheet, so hopefully, you’ll love this one too.

Guide to plastic-free eco-friendly toilet paper

It’s quite tricky making tables accessible. Therefore if you are reading this on a smartphone or tablet, then it’s probably best to turn your device on its side to view this table properly.

I’ve tried to factor in as many eco-purchasing decision-making factors as possible. However, the larger the table becomes, the less accessible it gets, so I have stopped here.

The Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper Roll Brands

The brands I assessed for this chart were as follows.

Please note that I based pricing on the largest pack I could find. This means there may be discrepancies in the price per 100 sheets if you buy a smaller quantity.

What Eco-Friendly Factors Should I Prioritise?

If family cloth isn’t for you, then you might be wondering what eco-friendly factors you should prioritise when it comes to buying eco-friendly toilet paper.

This question was tricky in 2019, and it’s still tricky now. It’s all down to your own personal ethical values and priorities.

Personally, here what I prioritise:

Materials

I still maintain that the most eco-friendly toilet roll is one that is made from recycled materials, rather than using virgin materials (no matter how fast-growing these materials are). Producing items from recycled materials does tend to be a less environmentally damaging activity.

I also worry that the rise in popularity of bamboo could see bamboo crops being cultivated on land where its cultivation displaces food crops or places pressure on regional water supplies.

Manufacturing Location

I favour toilet paper made in the UK or EU. This is because, depending on where you read, shipping products by boat is either terrible in terms of carbon emissions or incredibly efficient in terms of carbon emissions.  Whatever side of the argument you take, then, either way, shipping a product all the way around the world to simply use once to wipe our bums and then flush down the toilet, to me seems to be such an incredible waste of resources.  

There are also huge unregulated issues with human rights when it comes to shipping and the people who work in the shipping industry.  These include abuse, slavery, and unsafe working conditions which are beyond the control and scope of toilet roll producers.

Packaging  

I would always pick a brand of toilet paper wrapped in plastic that was made in the UK from recycled paper, over a plastic-free alternative that was shipped from the other side of the world. The good news is that paper packaging, which used to be the norm for toilet paper, is finally coming back. It’s great to see brands like Sainsbury’s offering paper-wrapped toilet paper.

I also avoid the brands that wrap their toilet paper in individual wrappers.  This paper usage feels completely unnecessary as many other brands are able to package their toilet paper without wrapping their toilet rolls individually, without any problem.

Cost & Accessibility

Cost is also a huge issue. Advising people to spend £40+ on 5 or 6 months’ worth of toilet paper is hardly intersectional. Not everyone has the financial ability to bulk buy eco-friendly toilet rolls. And that’s before we’ve even thought about the logistics of storing 48 toilet rolls. Being able to pick up a four-pack or nine-pack of toilet paper locally can be a really important factor that can’t be overlooked in this discussion.

In short, there’s no easy answer to what to prioritise. I would choose what option is best for your own circumstances, and keep finding ways to tackle climate change.

PS: Dropping in to say that as of April 2022 there are big changes to the toilet paper market due to rapidly rising production costs. Some brands have reduced the size of their rolls and others are increasing costs. I’ll update this post shortly to reflect the changing market.

Home, Home and Garden

How to Stop Junk Mail In The UK

how to stop junk mail uk

Sick of unsolicited catalogues and letters? Find out how to stop junk mail in the UK with my handy guide.

Junk mail is one of my biggest bugbears. All those precious natural resources are taken up to make these mailings which just end up in the bin the minute they enter your home. Lately, I’ve taken it on as my own personal mission to stop as much junk mail as possible coming into my house. As such, I’ve found the best places to sign up to help stop junk mail coming through your letterbox.

Before we dive in, first, let me warn you, the direct marketing field is a huge money-making machine. Royal Mail wouldn’t even stop delivering junk mail during the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, organisations make it as difficult as possible for you to opt-out of direct mailing. Don’t let it deter you though, I’ve got six handy ways to stop as much junk mail as possible.

how to stop junk mail uk

How to Stop UK Junk Mail

 I’ve been doing a ton of research to find out how to stop this barrage of unwanted mail. What can you do to stop junk mail in the UK? Here are my six top tips:

Opt Out of Junk Mail Online

If you are receiving unwanted mail from a company that you have shopped with in the past, or registered with at some point then you can usually take action. Simply log in to their website, and find the section that allows you to update your communication preferences. You should, in theory, be able to opt out of direct mailings. Instead, you can switch to email only, or opt-out of all communications. Do note that some companies can take up to 12 weeks for these changes to come into place.

Return Unwanted Mail

If you are unable to opt out of junk mail online, then you can return your unwanted mail. We get so much unwanted mail from H&M. As well as the shop being terrible for the environment, if you buy something online they will automatically put your name on their catalogue distribution list. They will then send you what seems like at least one catalogue a fortnight.  My partner also found himself on that same H&M mailing list, so it came to be that we were receiving two copies of the same catalogue every fortnight.  We seemed unable to stop junk mail from them on their website.

If you are in a similar predicament with direct mailings from a retailer, you can return any personally addressed junk mail to the sender.  Just cross through your address, and add a note to the envelope asking to be removed from their mailing list. Then put it in the post box.  You don’t need to add a stamp – I never do.  Most companies get the message quite quickly and you won’t receive any more unsolicited mail.

Others, like H&M, are a bit slower on the uptake. It took about 3 months of me returning every brochure that was sent to us before they took us off of their list.

Sign Up For The Mail Preference Service

Next on your checklist for stopping junk mail is to sign up for the Mail Preference Service.  This is a free service that you can use to get your name and address removed from lists used by companies to market their products.  This means you should receive no junk mail addressed to you personally from companies that use lists to send out direct marketing materials.

However, signing up to the Mail Preference Service does not stop mail addressed “to the householder” or “to the occupier”. Nor does it stop unaddressed junk mail from being delivered, or junk mail originating from abroad.

Sign Up for the Fundraising Preference Service

Are you feeling overwhelmed by unwanted marketing contact from a charity? If the charity in question is registered in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland then you can sign up for the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS). After signing up, it takes around 21 days to stop receiving communications from the charity.

The FPS does not apply to charities registered in Scotland. This is because Scottish charities fall under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel (SFSP). If you are receiving a high volume of unwanted mail from a Scottish charity then you can go through the SFSP complaints process to stop this mail.

Use A No Junk Mail Sticker

The next step you can do is to put a “no junk mail”, or “no circulars” sticker or sign on your letterbox.  This will help remind people, such as local fast food shops, not to put circulars through your letterbox. You can find no junk mail stickers on Etsy* from around £2.

Note, that the use of a no junk mail sticker won’t stop the delivery of free newspapers. You’ll have to add a “no free newspapers” sign on your letterbox as well. I know, it’s ridiculous.

Opt-Out of Junk Mail With Royal Mail

A no junk mail sticker will not stop the postman from putting junk mail through your letterbox.  This is because postmen are contractually obligated to give you any junk mail that companies have paid Royal Mail to deliver.  

To stop the postman from delivering junk mail to you, you have to opt-out via the Royal Mail website.  I’ve found that Royal Mail makes this unnecessarily difficult because Royal Mail gets paid to deliver junk mail, so it’s not in their best interests.  You have to download a form, which you then have to fill in send it back to them via the mail. Not email, because you know, it’s not 2022!

It’s certainly less long-winded than it used to be. However, it’s important to bear in mind that this process lets you opt-out of junk mail for two years only. After two years, you then have to re-contact Royal Mail and go through the whole rigmarole again.  

Final Thoughts

You probably won’t manage to stop every piece of junk mail from coming into your home. However, following these five steps should hopefully significantly reduce the amount of junk landing on your doormat.

Have I missed anything on how to stop junk mail?  Let me know in the comments below!