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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!

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 starting hoarding toilet paper and fighting over it in shops. I don’t know about you, but at this stage of the pandemic, last March feels like a lifetime ago. So, for old times 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 as. 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 but 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 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 it’s 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.

In order 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 that have been purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

Please note, I based pricing on the largest pack I could find, so 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 that 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 think 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 on 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 because.  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 roll. 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, you do what’s best for you.

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

The Best Eco-Friendly Toothpaste in 2021

Do you need to brush up on the best plastic-free and eco-friendly toothpaste in 2021 in the UK? You’re in luck! I’ve got you covered with my pick of the ten best brands.

This post contains affiliate links denoted by *

Looking for a more sustainable and eco-friendly toothpaste? Perhaps one that’s plastic-free, and packaged in a glass jar? Perhaps some eco-friendly toothpaste tablets? Or maybe you’d prefer toothpaste that comes in a recyclable metal tube? Or maybe even toothpaste that comes in a refillable tube? The good news is that the eco-friendly toothpaste market has expanded massively in the last year or so, and there’s now an option for almost every variable.

What’s Wrong With Conventional Tubes?

Toothpaste tubes and other types of squeezable tubes are difficult to recycle because they combine different materials. Toothpaste tubes in particular often contain a thin layer of aluminium, sandwiched between various types of plastic. It’s too tricky and too costly for recycling centres to separate and process them, so they get sent to landfill.

Terracycle does collect conventional toothpaste tubes for recycling, however, you need to have a collection point near you. Depending on where you live, this may or may not be accessible to you.

Ten of The Best Eco-Friendly Toothpaste Brands

The good news I’ve been doing some digging and found the best green toothpaste brands in the UK right now, that should be fully recyclable in most parts of the UK. I’ve also specifically looked for the brands that offer fluoride and fluoride-free eco-friendly toothpaste options, to cater to a range of dental needs. I’ve even found palm oil free brands and eco-friendly brands that cater to sensitive teeth. Brush up on my favourite brands!

Ben and Anna

ben and anna eco-friendly toothpaste

Ben and Anna* make a range of different flavoured eco-friendly toothpaste, catering for a range of differing dental needs. From toothpaste with fluoride to toothpaste without fluoride to whitening toothpaste, to toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. What’s more, each is packaged in a recyclable glass jar and cardboard box.

Their effective cruelty-free formulas are made from natural ingredients, such as sea-buckthorn, chamomile, activated charcoal, cinnamon, and calcium for strong, shiny teeth and healthy gums. And even better, all of their toothpaste is free from phthalates, parabens, microplastics, SLS, and formaldehyde.

They also make a natural mouthwash (that’s not made from coconut oil) that is also packaged in a glass bottle.

Prices start from £8.95.

Boca

boca plastic-free toothpaste

BOCA has produced day and night tubes of toothpaste crafted from organic and vegan ingredients. You can even choose from fluoride or fluoride-free options, depending on your preferences. What’s more, the toothpaste features the world’s first refill and reuse tube system, which is currently on trial in the UK only.

How it works is that every 8 weeks BOCA sends you replacement compostable tube refill cartridges. All you have to do is pop the empty tube in the dishwasher or clean it with hot water, then refill your tubes and reseal them with the BOCA system, before composting your empty refill cartridges.

If you don’t get on with toothpaste in a glass jar or toothpaste tablets then this could be one to try. Sometimes eco-friendly swaps are easier to make if they’re similar to what you’ve been used to.

Prices start from £9.99.

Brushd

brushd plastic free dental care

Brushd* makes a great range of plastic-free dental hygiene products, including toothpaste tablets, that come in fluoride or fluoride-free varieties. They also have a range of mouthwash tablets and plastic-free dental floss. When your toothpaste or mouthwash jar is empty, there’s no need to put it in the glass recycling. Instead buy a refill that comes in a cardboard container.

Brushd also makes bamboo interdental brushes*. To be honest, I’m on the fence about bamboo interdental brushes. They’re made of mixed materials, so will have to be sent to landfill, where biodegradable materials do not breakdown. Bamboo isn’t native to Europe so it has to be shipped from abroad. This possibly gives it a heavier carbon footprint than a plastic interdental brush. It’s a more expensive “eco” swap that may not make a discernible difference to the environment. It’s certainly something to think about, and if you want to read more you can read about why plastic-free isn’t always better for the environment.

Toothpaste tablets start from £4.99.

DENTtabs

DENTtabs toothpaste tablets

DENTtabs* teeth cleaning tablets with fluoride are a great eco-friendly alternative to toothpaste. These tablets are 100% plastic-free, with no preservatives. They come in a fully home compostable bag made from cornstarch, and carry the official home composting certification. When the bag arrives in the post, simply rip it open and pop the toothpaste tablets in one of your own reused jars.

One bag is equivalent to 2 tubes of toothpaste, and kid’s versions are available too.

Priced at £5.55.

Georganics

Georganics*  specialise in natural, sustainable, and ethical dental care, creating plastic-free products that promote good oral health. Made by hand in the UK, each formula includes locally sourced, organic natural ingredients that are kind to you, your teeth, and the planet.

From refillable jars of toothpaste tablets to tooth soap and toothpowder, their teeth cleaning range is extensive. Meanwhile, their mouthwash tablets and plastic-free dental floss also promote good oral hygiene.

Their vegan-friendly products are free from fluoride, parabens, SLS, SLES, mineral oil, microbeads, phthalates, triclosan, palm oil and synthetic fragrances.

Prices start from £6.90 for toothpaste.

Happier

happier plastic free toothpaste in tubes

Happier* is another plastic-free toothpaste that comes in a tube if dental tablets are not your thing. The Happier eco-friendly toothpaste comes in an old-school aluminium tube, which can be recycled in with your metal recycling. To help you squeeze out every last drop, you can buy a reusable “Squeeze Key”. This can be used on all aluminium tubes, such as my favourite Weleda Skin Food, or even your tomato puree!

This fluoride toothpaste is free from SLS, triclosan, parabens, petrochemicals, colours, artificial flavours, or artificial sweeteners. What’s more, it’s cruelty-free and vegan-friendly. Happier Toothpaste has also been specially formulated for sensitive teeth.

Priced from £12, with discounts available for repeat subscriptions.

Parla

Parla zero-waste toothpaste tablets

Parla’s eco-friendly toothpaste tablets* was founded by three award-winning cosmetic dentists from London. As dentists, they believe toothpaste should first and foremost protect people’s smiles but not harm people, animals, or the planet in the process.

Their tablets are available in two different-sized glass jars – either as 62 tablets or 248 tablets. And when you need a refill, you can buy a 248 tablet refill that comes in a cardboard box. Not sure what size would suit you? 62 Tabs is a 1 month supply for 1 person brushing twice daily. Meanwhile, 248 Tabs is a 4 month supply for 1 person brushing twice daily.

Prices start at £6.95.

Truthpaste

truthpaste palm oil free toothpaste

Truthpaste* is a palm oil free toothpaste, that’s also free from fluoride, SLS/SLES, triclosan, glycerin, and palm oil. Nor does it doesn’t contain any foaming agents, bleaching agents, colourants, or artificial ingredients. Even better, Truthpaste is 100% vegan and cruelty free too.

This eco-friendly toothpaste comes in a glass jar with a metal lid, making it fully recyclable when you’re done.

Priced at £8.95

Truthtabs

Not to be confused with Truthpaste, Truthtabs* are a different company!

Simply pop one UK-made Truthtab into your mouth, bite and brush. Truthtabs foam and clean just like toothpaste. Meanwhile, the fresh Wild Mint flavour leaves your teeth sparkling and your breath fresh.

These come in a cardboard box, which can be decanted into your own glass jar, for lower carbon shipping.

Prices start at £4.50

Weleda

Finally, Weleda* offers this plant-based formulation in a metal tube. This toothpaste is especially good for those with delicate gums.

It’s vegan-friendly and not tested on animals. What’s more, it’s free from sugar, artificial sweeteners, surfactants, synthetic preservatives, flavours, colourants, and raw materials derived from mineral oils. It’s only available in a fluoride-free option.

Priced at £4.95.

Didn’t You Forget About Lush?

So, yes, Lush does make toothpaste tablets. Ane no, I’m not recommending them. Personally, I am not a fan of Lush. I dislike their intensely pushy sales tactics. The last time I was in their store, they used some pretty abhorrent and problematic sales tactics on my kids who were just 3 and 7 at the time. As such, I’ve not bought any of their products since.

Whilst that’s my own personal grudge against Lush, there are bigger reasons that make Lush problematic. In December it was reported that Lush donated a four-figure sum to an anti-trans group. They have since apologised, but I personally feel uneasy supporting this company.

What If I Can’t Afford These Eco-Friendly Toothpaste Brands?

All of these eco-friendly toothpaste brands do come at a much higher price point than your average £1 tube of toothpaste. If they’re out of reach, then you can try to buy toothpaste that comes in a pump, rather than a tube, if this is accessible to you. Recycle Now says that pump action toothpaste tubes are easier to recycle and can be placed in your recycling bin if your local authority also collects plastic pots, tubs, and trays.

How Can We As Consumers Bring About Change?

Something that is important for us all to do, whether we can afford to buy these eco alternatives or not, is to write to toothpaste manufacturers to consider switching to recyclable packaging.

In terms of accessibilty, I don’t know if toothpaste tubes or pumps are more accessible to people with mobility problems (see the plastic straw ban conversation if you are new to these issues). I would therefore be loath to suggest that all manufacturers switch to toothpaste pumps without fully understanding any potential impacts.

Colgate has, however, introduced a fully recyclable toothpaste tube. This shows the technology and materials are there, and more manufacturers should be encouraged to adopt this packaging. Frustratingly, Colgate hasn’t introduced this recyclable tube across their whole range. I smell greenwashing – having one recyclable product amongst a sea of non-recyclable products does not make for an eco-friendly toothpaste brand. So Colgate should also be encouraged to roll this packaging out across their whole range. In the absence of strong Governmental actions on plastic packaging, they will only do this with consumer pressure from us.

Enjoyed this post? Do also check out my posts on the best fluoride-free toothpaste and how to reduce plastic in the bathroom.