The Toilet Paper Factory
Nr. of employees
Signed Code of Conduct:
Did you know that we use 127 toilet paper rolls per person and year? Although only 30% of our population uses toilet paper on a regular basis. And that is a €30 billion yearly market.
This caught our attention.
But then we thought that surely all the manufacturers were doing their best to be conscious of the environmental impacts of this massive product category. We all see the lovely ads of a happy sheep jumping up and down on a soft toilet paper.
Money goes first and it turned out that the toilet paper industry is one of the worst industries of everyday items around. Not only for the environment, but also for people's health.
Lets’s start with the industry aspect.
A study from Ethical Consumer magazine found that major brands were using less recycled paper than in 2011, while only five of the nine major supermarkets in the UK offered an own-brand recycled toilet paper.
The large-scale use of virgin paper contributes to unnecessary and extensive deforestation. The proportion of recycled wood pulp used by the company has fallen over the years. In 2011, just under 30% of the total fibre used was recycled, but by 2017 this figure had fallen to 23.5% and for 2019 it will be below 20%.
How we found the solution
Our sourcing team travelled by speed train from Hong Kong to mainland China to locate a potential bamboo toilet paper factory. Despite a bad reputation in some cliques, many factories are actually the opposite reputation instead modern, efficient. Bamboo also grows naturally in mainland China. That was a critical factor.
The Toilet Paper Factory is located in Guizhou, Chishui City. The border mountains of Guizhou have been identified as one of the eight plant diversity hotspots in China. The main ecosystem types include evergreen broad-leaved forest, coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest, and montane elfin forest. Bamboo has grown naturally here for thousands of years and isn't being grown on deforested land.
The strongest guarantee that the bamboo is sourced sustainably is that it has been certified by the FSC. The FSC Bamboo mark not only ensures environmental sustainability, but it also promotes the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation, meaning that vital workers’ rights are upheld.
The process and way of working
The process of making toilet paper from bamboo is fairly straight forward. Bamboo trees are turned into pulp and then pressed into the paper on massive rolls. These are later divided into small rolls. The process used no bleach and the wastewater is taken care of in a closed-loop system.
We did also did two major innovations with A Good Toilet Paper:
- We exchanged the inner roll from pulp paper to bamboo paper
- We removed all plastic around each roll. Instead, we pack them individually with bamboo paper. 0% plastic, better designs.
About the owner
The Toilet Paper Factory was founded in 2001. It has 61 employees working under living wage conditions. It is a family business and we last met in May 2019.