The Ultimate Guide to Eco-Friendly Toilet Roll

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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!

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 in 2020 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, 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 then scored their eco-credentials.

In fact, I’ve put together the ultimate spreadsheet, allowing you to quickly compare brands and choose 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 is what I prioritise:


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.


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 January 2023 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.

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  1. Hi Wendy. Thank you very much for the info! I understand that Naked Sprout rolls are made in the UK. Also both Naked Sprout and WGAC are B Corp certified (“ a rigorous accreditation process, where a company’s performance is assessed on a points system and measured against five key categories: governance, workers, customers, community, and the environment” The Independent) which is another positive for any company.

  2. Wanted to add my thanks for the work you’ve done to produce this.
    I’ve done my research today and think that Waitrose works best for me at 26p/100 sheets. Shame about the plastic packaging, but supposedly recyclable.
    Do you know if Tesco and Aldi still do an eco brand, I couldn’t find them?

    1. I’m not too sure Julia. I keep meaning to update this post, as some brands, in response to rising costs, have increased their prices and/or decreased the number of sheets/ply of their rolls, but it’s such a rapidly changing picture at the moment that I’m waiting for things to settle down! I know that Sainsbury’s own brand loo roll comes wrapped in paper, but not sure about Tesco or Aldi.

  3. Hi Wendy, I currently have a subscription to Naked Sprout and was curiously surprised at your photo of 3 ply sheets in their rolls as mine are only 2 ply. Perhaps they are economising… Lisa

    1. Thanks for the update Lisa! Naked Sprout toilet paper was 3 ply at the time of writing the post, but I have just read reviews on Trust Pilot and it looks like towards the end of 2021 they switched to 2 ply. I’ll try and update the table when I can, quite a few toilet paper companies have had to put their prices up due to increased manufacturing costs and I think some others have made changes to their rolls to help cut costs.

  4. I wanted to mention BOXROLL by Rural Trading, a UK based company. They prefer people to buy their products from zero waste stores but will supply households if there isn’t a stockist in their area!

  5. Oh my goodness Wendy – thank you so much for doing this! I was so going to do my own spreadsheet but you’ve done it so much better! I DO love a spreadsheet! I will be sure to share and proliferate your knowledge which I also get asked on a daily basis!

  6. Tesco’s recycled option comes in paper now and in both pack sizes.
    I’m located in South Wales though.
    I have tried a few sustainable brands and find the Tesco option above the best so far and hope they make a 24 or 48 pack as this would be a better option!

  7. Hi Wendy.
    Glad to observe you are keeping well.
    I think there is one other issue to consider and that is how well the brand of toilet roll does it’s job. How many sheets are needed to do each of the two jobs? If you need several sheets to do the ‘number two job’ (apologies) then is that brand worth it and are you reducing your environmental impact?
    I’ve tried one or two different brands but my latest is best for effectiveness so far. I’m pleased to see it had your approval in 8/10 of your categories. As usual, you point out the complexities of trying to make the best environmental choice and you’re right to leave up to the individual. At least all of your readers are doing the right thing – thinking about the environment. Steph

  8. Thank you so much for this article. I bought Who Gives a Crap for about a year and asked them if the individual wrappers were recycled as it was not clear on the website. They replied that they were not recycled. It wasn’t this fact that made me most angry (although I was cross about that), it was their lack of transparency which made me doubt the integrity of the company as a whole. I emailed them to cancel my subscription and told them about my concerns but got no reply. I now use sainsbury, Tesco or aldi, all now in paper packaging, the rolls aren’t as big but I think better overall and so much cheaper. What a minefield! Really couldn’t do cloths, I used terry nappies and know the stains are a buger to remove without boiling and bleach…

    1. I wasn’t impressed by them trying to say that the wrappers help keep their toilet paper from getting damaged, but then saying that actually, it’s because it’s good advertising. To know that the wrappers aren’t made from recycled paper makes it even worse. I think my family would revolt if I brought out cloths, but it’s great that plastic-free toilet paper is becoming more accessible and affordable too.

  9. The human rights issue in shipping is an interesting one, although it won’t apply quite the same way to container shipping as it does with other types of vessels (fisheries and bullere in particular). This is because toilet paper cargo will be shipped via containers, with a market controlled by key players that are at least ITF/MLC compliant.