That the toilet paper industry is a major threat to forests and the environment is a fact. A 2019 report from the U.S. Natural Resources Defense Council indicates how the major brands of toilet paper and “wipes” predominantly use wood from Canada’s ancient boreal forests. These results in fewer trees filtering greenhouse gases (GHGs), releasing stored GHGs, and also destroying animal habitats.
So what sustainable alternatives are there?
Fortunately, there is a solution on the horizon: the production and sale of hemp toilet paper.
Hemp toilet paper is proving to be sustainable, recyclable, and biodegradable, which could mean less impact on the environment. Hemp produces four times more cellulose fibers per hectare compared to trees and takes 4-5 months to grow, while trees take 8-100 years.
From the tree to the plant
Furthermore, it is the best source of biomass in the world, as 10 tons of hemp per acre can be produced. Trees are 30% cellulose; Aggressive chemicals are used to break down the wood and recover this 30%. Hemp has up to 85% cellulose, almost three times more than trees.
Today’s pulp and paper factories account for 1/4 of all solid waste in landfills. 35% of all trees are being cut down to make paper. Paper consumption has increased by 400% in 40 years. In the USA, 20% of all air toxics were due to the production of paper pulp. A ton of conventional paper contaminates 76,000 liters of water.
Hemp paper products, such as toilet paper, are promoted as renewable, easy-to-manufacture, and inexpensive alternatives to tree-derived wood pulp products. Under the Organic Farming Projects, one acre of hemp will produce “as much paper pulp as 4.1 acres of trees over a 20-year period.”
In turn, natural organic hemp fiber is recyclable five to eight times. If the environmental benefits were not enough to make the change, there are also benefits to experiencing on a personal level. Biodegradable not only means well for the environment, but it also means that hemp toilet paper does not accumulate in septic systems.
Hemp toilet paper also goes through less chemical processing, it does not need bleaching or additional chemicals like formaldehyde. Hemp toilet paper is specifically said to be more durable, softer, and more absorbent than traditional toilet paper.