The Best Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper of 2021

Help prevent deforestation with these soft options

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown
"Organic, sustainable, soft while still being easy on the pocket book."
Best Bamboo + Best Overall Runner-up:
Cloud Paper Tree-free Toilet Paper at Cloudpaper.co
"Another quality bamboo bath tissue, Cloud Paper sells direct-to-consumer toilet paper that's entirely free of plastic packaging."
"Panda-friendly paper you can afford and use guilt-free."
"Never run out with a subscription, while 50 percent of profits support sanitation for those in need."
"Three-ply comfort with zero waste and zero guilt."
"Eco-conscious quality that is septic-, RV- and boat-safe."
Best 100 Percent Recycled:
Marcal 100% Bath Tissue at Walmart
"A top-rated tissue that keeps paper out of the landfill."
"Leave the chemicals behind with this organic paper from a BIPOC- and women-led brand."

If you’re looking at ways to use your consumer dollars to prevent deforestation, reduce the impacts climate change and protect biodiversity, choosing a better toilet paper may be one of the best places to start. Too often, toilet paper manufacturing leads to the destruction of valuable forests (more on these environmental impacts below).

But we can change that by making small changes at home. In response to consumer demand, many manufacturers have brought to the market eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives. These options include recycled paper, bamboo, and even direct-to-consumer options that are entirely free of plastic packaging.

To help you get started, we researched the best eco-friendly toilet paper available on the market today.

Best Overall: Betterway Bamboo Toilet Paper

Betterway toilet paper

Thankfully, there are a number of 100 percent bamboo toilet papers available on the market. Betterway won the best overall spot because among its competitors, Betterway was the softest tree-free brand while also being the most absorbent and longest lasting. It’s hypoallergenic and gentle on sensitive skin. That may be because it’s chlorine-, BPA-, ink-, scent- and dye-free.

Betterway sources Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified bamboo pulp from small, family-owned farms that's hand-harvested from panda-free zones. The bamboo is grown organically, and the company is working on getting an organic certification. Betterway is among the more affordable bamboo toilet papers, and offers free climate-neutral shipping.

Betterway has committed to plastic-free recycled and recyclable packaging and cores all the way down to the tape on the box. The company says that 12 rolls of their 360-sheet 3-ply septic-safe bath tissue is equivalent to about 20 regular rolls because you need less of it to do the job.

Best Bamboo + Best Overall Runner-up: Cloud Paper Tree-free Toilet Paper

Could Paper Toilet Paper

Another quality bamboo bath tissue, Cloud Paper sells direct-to-consumer toilet paper that's entirely free of plastic packaging and sourced from FSC-certified bamboo producers. This soft three-ply toilet paper is septic-safe and free of chlorine, BPA, pesticides, scents, and dyes.

All of the packaging is recyclable or compostable paper, and you can also sign up for a subscription if you don't want to worry about running out. Shipping is free, and the company offsets the planet-heating emissions associated with transportation by purchasing carbon credits through The CarbonFund. These offsets support reforestation and forest preservation initiatives.

Cloud Paper has also donated over 140,000 rolls of TP to homeless shelters since the onset of the pandemic.

Best Budget: Caboo Tree-Free Bath Tissue

Caboo Tree Free Bamboo Toilet Paper

Caboo Bamboo toilet paper may be a little more affordable because it is made from a combination of sustainably-grown bamboo and bagasse sugar cane. Bagasse is the fibrous residue left over after sugar cane juice is extracted to make table sugar. It’s usually burned or landfilled, so this toilet paper prevents the byproduct from being wasted. They claim that it’s also what gives this paper its softness.

If you can afford to buy it in larger quantities and you shop around, you can find it for about 50 percent less than other bamboo toilet papers. Caboo is also RV-, boat- and septic-safe while still being soft and strong. It is free of lint, BPA, fragrance, paraben, chlorine and non-GMO project verified.

You can feel good about using it because it meets British Retail Consortium Global Standards and is panda-friendly. Your purchase will also help 1% for the Planet, which supports environmental nonprofit organizations that focus on sustainability. However, this paper does come wrapped in a plastic film, which can be recycled anywhere that recycled plastic grocery bags.

Best Subscription: Who Gives a Crap 100% Recycled Toilet Paper

Premium 100% Bamboo Toilet Paper

Subscription services are wonderful because they free your mind up for other things and you should literally never run out. Who Gives a Crap uses a chlorine-free bleaching process that's void of inks and dyes and all of their packaging is plastic-free and recyclable.

This 100 percent recycled bath tissue is made from 95 percent post-consumer recycled paper. The non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) grades toilet tissues, and this one earned an “A+”. The price is comparable, if not slightly cheaper, than other bamboo and recycled papers. The company offers a money-back guarantee so you can try it worry-free. They also sell a bamboo option.

The company is a a Certified B Corporation, but perhaps the best part is that they donate a whopping 50 percent of their profits to build toilets in communities in need. That’s added up to over $5.7 million to provide sanitation to those in need around the world.

Best Tubeless: Smitten Premium Bamboo Toilet Paper

Smitten Premium Bamboo Toilet Paper

Most toilet paper rolls contain a paper tube that can be recycled or composted. Some conscientious manufacturers ensure that this tube, or core, is made of recycled cardboard to lessen the environmental impact. Or you can buy tubeless or coreless toilet paper rolls.

Although not yet common, family-owned and operated Smitten offers a Premium Coreless 100 percent Bamboo toilet paper that is unbleached, unscented and free from dyes. The comfy three-ply paper comes in plastic-free packaging and is septic-safe.

This small brand is not yet FSC-Certified. It is strong and absorbent so you may use less of it overall. Some users noted that they saw an increase in clogs when they didn’t downsize the amount of each use. When you’re ready to go tubeless, this is the paper for you.

Best for Composting Toilets: Seventh Generation Recycled Bathroom Tissue

Seventh Generation Bathroom Tissue

Toilet paper is compostable by design. But some compost more quickly than others. For composting toilets, choose a toilet paper that is a thin 1-ply paper that is chlorine-, dye-, ink- and fragrance-free and approved for “RV/Marine Use.”

Finding 1-ply eco-friendly toilet paper isn’t easy, but Seventh Generation 100% Recycled 1-Ply toilet paper is widely available. Made from a minimum of 50 percent post-consumer recycled paper, it is gentle and durable while still breaking down quickly. It has no added dyes, inks or fragrances and is made without chlorine in the United States or Quebec from materials recycled in North America. You can find individual rolls that are wrapped in paper, but one downside of this brand is that larger packs often come wrapped together in plastic film.

It’s both FSC- and Rainforest Alliance-Certified so you know this product meets high standards for forests, climate, human rights and the farmers and workers that source and make the product. Seventh Generation also donates 10 percent of its profits to helping women build sustainable lives.

Best 100 Percent Recycled: Marcal 100% Bath Tissue

Marcal Bath Tissue

Using 100 percent recycled toilet paper means that the paper is made from paper products that have been used at least once. Marcal Premium 2-Ply 100% Recycled bath tissue uses 60 percent post-consumer recycled content. It's Green Seal Certified, which means it has met high standards for health, sustainability and product performance. Made in the United States, Marcal also received an “A” grade from the NRDC and was awarded the Corporate Citizen Award.

This paper is whitened without chemicals containing chlorine and made without dyes and fragrances as well as virtually lint-free and septic-safe. Marcal is one of the few long-time big tissue companies who have successfully developed a eco-friendly product that can meet green market standards. This toilet paper is widely available and reasonably priced.

Best Unbleached: Bim Bam Boo Toilet Paper

Bim Bam Boo Toilet Paper

While there are several unbleached options available, most have yet to become FSC-Certified. We like Bim Bam Boo Organic 100% Bamboo toilet paper because it ticks all the boxes. It is free of fragrance, dyes, chlorine, formaldehyde, BPA, phthalates and lint. Suitable for septic, RVs and boats, it is also USDA Certified as BioPreferred and uses plastic-free packaging.

The rolls come individually wrapped in recyclable and compostable tissue paper, which we could live without, all in a recyclable cardboard container. The rolls are a little smaller than standard wood pulp toilet paper, but you may use less because of its sturdy thickness. Depending on where you buy Bim Bam Boo, it can cost twice as much as Caboo or Cloud Paper, but may be worth it for some.  

This woman-founded brand discloses that the company is 60 percent Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), 40 percent Black and 100 percent female-identifying. Bim Bam Boo is committed to building 80 percent of its partnerships with “Black- and Brown-led” organizations. It also donates toilet paper and a portion of sales to causes in their community in North Minneapolis.

Final Verdict

Consumers are lucky today to be able to easily find multiple quality organic bamboo and 100 percent recycled toilet papers. Try Betterway 100% Bamboo (view at Amazon) for your best balance of price, quality and environmental-thoughtfulness.

If the slightly higher price feels like too much of a stretch or commitment, pick up some Caboo Tree-Free Bamboo Toilet Paper (view at Amazon). You’ll be glad you did with every flush.

What to consider in eco-friendly toilet paper:

Bamboo Toilet Paper

Bamboo is considered a sustainable alternative because it is a fast-growing crop (months instead of years for trees) that requires less land than traditional wood fibers. Its use produces about 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.  

But not all bamboos are equal. Shoppers should try to stick to products that use bamboo producers certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a nonprofit that ensures the bamboo fibers were grown sustainably, that no forests were destroyed to make room for the bamboo crop and that their processes are chlorine-free. However, some bamboo-based paper makers have applied but not yet received the certification which takes time to approve. Unless otherwise noted, all bamboo-based toilet papers above are FSC-certified. 

Recycled and Post-Consumer Recycled Toilet Paper

Although major toilet paper manufacturers have been slow to shift away from virgin boreal forest pulp, many new brands are offering toilet paper that is made from 100 percent recycled paper, or even better still post-consumer recycled toilet paper.

Post-consumer simply means that the source paper cannot be recycled in other ways and so using it for toilet paper rescues it from the landfill. FSC also certifies recycled and post-consumer recycled products so look for that, as well as the highest percentage you can find, when choosing what to buy.

Unbleached and Chlorine-Free

A number of processes have been used over the last hundred years in order to make paper products whiter. Most of those have used chlorine bleaching. Common household laundry bleach is 5 percent to 6 percent sodium hypochlorite. The chlorine in it is toxic in aquatic (and terrestrial) environments and concentration used to whiten pulp is usually much higher.

Chlorine-free bleach is made of solutions of other chemicals — such as sodium percarbonate or sodium perborate (Borax) — that work in a similar way, oxidizing or breaking down the compounds that make up the color of pulp. Although considered better for the environment than chlorine-based products, these chemicals are also not good for our waterways. The European Union has banned sodium perborate because it is classified as a reproductive toxin.  

So, if you’re choosing any paper product including the paper that will touch your most intimate areas, your best choice would be unbleached. But until consumers adapt to products that are not bright white, you’ll find a lot of chlorine-free bleached products.

FAQs

What is the environmental impact of toilet paper?

The U.S. accounted for about 56 percent of Canada’s pulp and paper exports in 2018, and about 35 percent from Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft pulp from Canada’s boreal forests. Most U.S. tissue product manufacturers make their toilet paper from this fiber. Those numbers are sadly still growing.

The Natural Resource Defence Council estimates that at least 26 million metric tons of carbon are released each year from Canada’s boreal forests — that’s clear cutting a small city block every minute—the equivalent of 5.5 million passenger vehicles.

This deforestation has a number of negative impacts. Habitat loss has threatened species like the boreal caribou, lynx, pine marten and several species of songbirds. Those same losses are impacting the way of life of indigenous communities and their ancestors who have lived among the forests for millennia.

Is it possible to avoid toilet paper?

Although it’s still slowly catching on, one way to significantly reduce the amount of toilet paper used in your home is to install a bidet. This handy washing device can be standalone or attach to your existing toilet. They’ve been widely used for decades in Japan, Venezuela and parts of Europe. Bidet use may reduce your toilet paper usage by about 75 percent, from about 23 to about 6 rolls per person per year — saving both trees and your money.

What about wheat straw toilet paper? 

Although not yet widely available, wheat straw toilet paper is headed our way in the coming years, with new pulp mills opening in the Pacific Northwest. Wheat straw is one of the best alternative materials because it is an agricultural byproduct that might otherwise be incinerated.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Lorraine Wilde tries to learn as much as she can about the cutting edge of environmental technology. She’s proud to help consumers make healthy, informed and environmentally-conscious choices to protect their families and our planet. She also holds a Master’s degree in environmental science and uses that education to frame her consumer choices one product at a time.