This post contains affiliate links.
If there’s one brand that’s consistently been with me since very early on in my plastic-free living and zero waste journey, it’s Who Gives A Crap toilet paper.
The thing about Who Gives A Crap toilet paper, is that it isn’t just about the toilet paper.
For me, it isn’t enough for a company to print a green leaf on their packaging and tell me it is eco-friendly. I want to know how; I want to know the details.
The more ethical, sustainable and environmental boxes that can be ticked, the better.
Who Gives A Crap tick a lot of these boxes for me.
I use their toilet paper every day, and I recommend it to everyone who uses toilet paper.
I thought I’d summarise what Who Gives A Crap do, and why they do it (as well as why I think they are pretty great) – it’s about more than just selling loo roll.
(I was wondering exactly how long ago it was that I first started using Who Gives A Crap. They only actually started selling toilet paper in March 2013. Turns out, I placed my first order back in January 2014.)
Firstly, Let’s Talk Eco Friendly Toilet Paper
I started buying Who Gives A Crap toilet paper because it was plastic-free. It’s also made of 100% recycled paper. There’s plenty of recycled toilet paper out there, but finding a plastic-free toilet paper is surprisingly challenging.
Not buying anything in single-use plastic is very important to me.
Who Gives A Crap is plastic-free and 100% recycled, and they do not put inks, dyes or scents in the paper. As natural as toilet paper can be.
I order online (I order the 48 double-length rolls, which is the most toilet paper for the least packaging), and it gets delivered in a big box. Cardboard and loo roll, nothing else. (Oh, except a bit of sticky tape to seal the box shut.)
Even now, I still appreciate the “nice bum” comment printed on the box. Thanks, guys!
Each roll is wrapped in colourful paper (Who Gives A Crap have updated their designs over the years, and each iteration gets a little bit more fun.)
As someone who doesn’t do presents, opening a box of brightly wrapped toilet roll is about as Christmassy as it gets for me! Yes, I get my present-opening fix with boxes of loo roll ;)
(A quick note on the packaging – according to the folks at Who Gives A Crap, individual wrappers might seem wasteful, but actually it’s only possible to wrap a maximum of 6 wrappers in paper. It also needs to be thicker. With the individual wrappers, the net use of paper is the same, but it avoids any plastic, still protects the rolls from moisture, and looks fun.
You can read more about the decision-making around the wrappers, if you’re interested.)
In every box, there are three “emergency” rolls, wrapped in red paper. This is possibly my favourite feature.
I can tell you, since switching to these rolls, I have never run out of toilet paper.
The trick is to pack the emergency rolls at the back of the cupboard though, so they are definitely the ones that are used last!
I can wedge most of my loo roll into my under-the-sink cupboard in the bathroom, but because it looks so good, I don’t mind having a few rolls stacked on the counter.
I never put the wrappers straight in the recycling. Firstly, they are too pretty. Secondly, they are too useful!
I’ve used the wrappers to wrap gifts, but as someone who doesn’t do presents, this has limited demand. What I do with them instead, is use them to pick up dog poo. They are cut to the perfect size and strong enough for the task.
I actually tend to purchase this toilet roll 11 boxes at a time, by getting together with a group of friends and neighbours and splitting it up. Whilst there’s a bit of admin and organising involved, doing it this way means it’s much cheaper ($39 AUD a box rather than $48 AUD), and it also means there isn’t a truck driving round the suburb dropping off one box at a time to 11 different houses.
Even better, my neighbours then leave their finished wrappers in my letterbox, so I can use them to clean up after my greyhound too!
As for the toilet paper itself (it is easy to get distracted by the wrappers!), well, it does all the things that you’d expect toilet paper to do. It’s 3 ply, and as strong and absorbent as toilet paper should be.
Sometimes eco friendly paper can be so feeble that you end up needing to use twice as much, which rather defeats the point of choosing eco-friendly. Good news is, this is definitely not the case with Who Gives A Crap. A single square can meet all your needs ;)
Second, Let’s Talk Ethical Toilet Paper
Who Gives A Crap meet the eco-friendly toilet paper criteria for me by using 100% recycled paper (meaning not trees are harmed in the making of the loo roll); not using dyes, scents or inks on their paper; and not using any single-use plastic packaging.
However, their impact goes far beyond simply wrapping a few loo rolls in paper to skip the plastic.
Firstly, Who Gives A Crap donate 50% of their profits to their charity partners, to help build toilets and improve sanitation in less economically developed countries. The business was established to do something about the fact that 2.3 billion people do not have access to a toilet.
To date, Who Gives A Crap have donated over $1.2 million ($ AUD) to charities working in this field. As the company grows (and they now sell toilet paper in the USA and UK as well as Australia) this figure is only going to grow.
More toilet paper sales means more toilets built in places where people need them.
You can read more about how and why they donate to these organisations on their impact page.
(Alternatively, they do a pretty good job of explaining their mission and ethos on their toilet paper wrappers themselves.)
The other thing I love about Who Gives A Crap is that they are a certified B Corp. If you’ve not heard of B Corporations before, I like to explain it as similar to a Fair Trade certification scheme, except it is for businesses that manufacture goods rather than grow food, and use factories rather than farms.
B Corps explain it like this: Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.
What this means is that not only do Who Gives A Crap claim they care about the environment, people and the planet – they have actually invested in being independently audited and verified, to prove it.
This is important to me, because many companies make great claims about their mission, but few are able to demonstrate how.
Whilst some companies are simply too small to afford the auditing and certification process, those that can – and do – are demonstrating commitment to positive change, transparency, and integrity.
Whilst Who Gives A Crap is an Australian company, they manufacture their toilet paper in China. I’m a big believer in buying local, but I also recognize that China is the manufacturing hub of the world. For me, being a registered B Corp is proof that Who Gives A Crap are manufacturing responsibly. (You can read more about their decision to manufacture in China here, as well as how they audit their factories.)
Personally, I choose to purchase from Who Gives A Crap because they are an independent, Australian grown company with a transparent commitment to environmental responsibility and ethics, who donate profits to good causes.
No company is perfect, but those that recognise their imperfections, explain their choices and always strive to do a little better next time will always get my vote.
In short, I’m a long-time fan of Who Gives A Crap toilet paper, and I’d encourage anyone looking for a plastic-free, sustainably sourced and ethical brand to give them a go. Here are the links if you’d like to learn more:
Australian site: au.whogivesacrap.org
UK site: uk.whogivesacrap.org
USA site: us.whogivesacrap.org
This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click a link and go on to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no expense to you. I chose to become an affiliate in 2022 after using these products for several years, because I think they offer a plastic-free and ethical solution to a need that almost all of us have. I only recommend products with my readers in mind.