Consumer Alert: The price we pay for toilet paper — it’s not just money

Consumer Alert: What toilet paper brands are best in ecology and economy?

Consumer Alert: What toilet paper brands are best in ecology and economy?

This Consumer Alert looks at something we all buy. It transcends any differences of race, class, and culture. It’s toilet paper. But learning more about where toilet paper comes from may make you think differently about what you buy.

When I usually shop for toilet paper, I’m looking for two things — cost and comfort. So, I look for the cheapest 2-ply I can find. After all, I have a family of six and we go through a lot of toilet paper. So I usually choose Kirkland Signature, Costco’s store brand which is even cheaper that Walmart’s brand, Great Value.

But my toilet paper of choice, and likely yours as well, likely comes from Canada’s Boreal Forest.  According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization, all the brands made by giants like Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark and Georgia-Pacific clear cut acres and acres of forest so we can use toilet paper just once and flush it.

NDRC the organization has graded dozens of toilet paper brands from A to F based on their environmental impact.

Most of the major names like Charmin, Angel Soft, Cottonelle, Kirkland Signature, and Great Value all got an F. I asked Ashley Jordan with NDRC what it takes to get their highest score.  

“The A and A+ on our score card are reserved for brands that are made completely from recycled content,” said Jordan. “And this is in part because recycled content has just one third the carbon emissions and uses half as much water compared to forest fiber.”

There were nine brands that got an A and only four that got an A+.  They are the following:

  • 365 by Whole Foods Market.100% recycled
  • Green Forest
  • Natural Value
  • Trader Joe’s

So how do the prices of these environmentally friendly brands compare to toilet paper made with tree fiber? Of course, I did the math for you. I looked at the price per sheet. And the prices were comparable to the so-called luxury toilet paper brands like Charmin, but more expensive than brands I’ve found to be the cheapest, Great Value and Kirkland Signature. 365 Whole Foods 100% Recycled is the least expensive of the environmentally friendly brands that received an A+.  For example, Kirkland Signature is .2 cents per sheet and Whole Foods is .3 per sheet.  And Jordan assures me the softness compares to most tissue made with tree fiber. That’s for you to decide.