What You Need to Know About Bamboo Toilet Paper

If you don't like the idea of chopping down forests to make toilet paper, consider switching to an alternative: bamboo toilet paper.

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For something that just gets flushed down the sewer, toilet paper sure has a refined background. Most popular toilet paper brands use 100 percent virgin wood fiber, which comes from vast stretches of pristine boreal forests. Cutting down these forests releases huge stores of carbon, contributing to climate change.

If making toilet paper this way seems wasteful to you, you’re not alone. Some companies are taking notice of consumer demand for sustainable and renewable products and offering recycled and alternative-fiber tissue. Pressure from advocacy groups, the public and investors seems to be working.

Recycled paper gives the best climate return, but alternative fibers like bamboo have a part to play. “Bamboo fiber has a much smaller climate impact than fiber from primary forests, but a larger impact than fiber from recycled content,” says Ashley Jordan of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and author of The Issue with Tissue 2.0.

What Is Bamboo Toilet Paper?

As the name suggests, bamboo toilet paper is made from bamboo, a fast-growing grass, instead of wood pulp. Bamboo is more efficient to plant and harvest than traditional crops. Depending on who you talk to, bamboo toilet paper looks and feels like regular toilet paper.

Pros and Cons of Bamboo Toilet Paper

Bamboo toilet paper has a lot going for it, but it’s not a cure-all. Jordan says consumers should first look for 100 percent recycled toilet paper with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Bamboo’s benefits and drawbacks include:

  • Renewable: Bamboo regenerates quickly, and some species can grow an astonishing 36 inches per day.
  • Lowers emissions: Bamboo toilet paper production releases 30 percent fewer carbon emissions than virgin-pulp toilet paper.
  • Costs more: Even less expensive bamboo toilet paper costs more than a dollar per roll. Some brands are higher.
  • Comfort: Some consumers say bamboo toilet paper is not as soft as traditional tissue.

All bamboo toilet paper isn’t created equal, either. “One of the most significant sustainability concerns is whether the bamboo was sourced from a plantation that was established through the clear-cutting and conversion of a natural forest,” says Jordan.

If you’re changing toilet paper for ethical reasons, be sure to know what you’re buying. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo when buying tissue products. This mark “helps indicate to consumers that the fiber was sourced in a way that respects human rights and limits negative forest impacts,” says Jordan.

Is Bamboo Toilet Paper Septic Safe?

Yes. Bamboo toilet paper dissolves quickly and is septic-safe, according to multiple manufacturer websites. Bamboo, a grass, is 100 percent biodegradable.

Is Bamboo Toilet Paper Better?

Manufacturers tout bamboo’s comfort and similarity to regular toilet paper, but what do customers say?

Amazon verified purchaser Jo recommends Caboo bamboo toilet paper because it feels like the regular kind. “I was pleasantly surprised by the softness of this tissue,” she writes.

Others aren’t quite as sold on the softness, but like doing something for the earth. Amazon verified purchaser Jackie included a video review of Reel. “It costs a little more, and it’s not as soft as other toilet paper, but it makes me feel like I’m supporting the environment with this tiny step,” she writes.

Cost is definitely a consideration, but it’s a matter of perspective. “Per roll I can’t beat the price,” M.Hance writes on Amazon about the Cheeky Panda brand bamboo toilet paper. “It’s not as soft as Charmin or quilted but it’s very nice and I love what the company stands for.”

Where To Get Bamboo Toilet Paper

Consumers can find bamboo toilet paper at Amazon and grocery stores, like Kroger and Whole Foods. Buying directly from manufacturers is an option, but you might have to pay for shipping. Check out subscription services and introductory deals to save money.

Best Bamboo Toilet Paper

So, are you ready to make the switch? Here are the best options for ease and your budget:

Best subscription bamboo toilet paper

Betterway Bamboo Toilet Papervia merchant

Betterway bamboo toilet paper offers a five percent discount on subscriptions through Amazon. You can get an additional five percent if you add other products to your Subscribe and Save order.

Best budget bamboo toilet paper

Bim Bam Boo Toilet Papervia merchant

Bim Bam Boo’s bamboo toilet paper costs $27.99 for 24 rolls. In the world of bamboo toilet paper, that’s a steal. The company offers free shipping and $5.00 off for signing up. Bim Bam Boo makes the NDRC’s sustainable tissue scorecard with a B-plus, higher than any other bamboo toilet paper brand.

Best easy-to-find bamboo toilet paper

Reel Premium Bamboo Toilet Papervia merchant

Reel bamboo toilet paper is available on Amazon, Walmart, Target and via the Reel website, making it one of the easier brands to find. That’s important when buying a fundamental product like toilet paper. If it’s not convenient to switch products, people won’t do it.

Ally Childress
Ally Childress comes to Family Handyman from the electrical industry, where she was an accomplished electrician, winning the highly competitive Outstanding Graduate award as an apprentice. Her professional electrical experience included large commercial projects such as Minnesota's US Bank Stadium, and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and several hospitals. Before becoming an electrician, she worked in food safety and water quality as a scientist and technical writer. Ally's career, spanning multiple industries and areas of the country, honed her innate sense of curiosity and her ability to connect with subject matters of all kinds and explain dense subjects to diverse audiences. Ally is her household's designated handy person and is well versed in a variety of home DIY and maintenance tasks, able to confidently clean, troubleshoot, build, install, and modify. She loves spending time outdoors, especially with her partner and dogs.