Written by Grove Collaborative

We asked the experts: Is bamboo actually sustainable?

Last Updated: November 10, 2021

Is bamboo a sustainable alternative to tree paper products? Let’s go off the beaten path and discover more including 5 bamboo products that are truly eco-friendly.

When it comes to cleaning your tush, it’s hard to find a toilet paper that, well, hits the spot. The single-ply stuff your office stocks? Everyone knows it’s the worst. Here’s something that might surprise you, though: Those luxe conventional brands that feel high-quality are actually not-so-great for the environment.

Bamboo is a popular alternative to tree paper, but is it sustainable — and should you make the switch to bamboo paper products?

To help us see the forest through the trees is Shelley Vinyard, co-author of The Issue with Tissue 2.0: How the Tree-to-Toilet Pipeline Fuels Our Climate Crisis, a Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) publication.

So, is bamboo sustainable?

Bamboo is an eco-friendly, renewable resource that’s soft, durable, and sustainable. The bamboo plant grows lightning-fast — up to 35 inches per day and 1.5 inches per hour — and holds the Guiness World Record for the fastest growing plant.

Bamboo doesn’t require fertilizer, and it self-regenerates from its own root system, so no replanting is required.

Products that are 100 percent bamboo are biodegradable — but that’s not the only reason bamboo paper products are better for the environment than those made from trees.

Is bamboo toilet paper sustainable?

Most of the toilet paper used in the U.S. isn’t sustainable or recycled — it’s made with virgin wood pulp from the Canadian boreal forest. And with the average American using over 140 rolls of TP a year — that’s a lot of trees getting flushed down the toilet.

“Bamboo tissue products produce 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than tissue products made from 100 percent virgin forest fiber,” Shelley Vinyard says.

“P&G, Kimberly-Clark, and Georgia-Pacific all continue to make their household tissue products from 100 percent virgin forest fiber and have not incorporated any recycled or sustainable alternative fibers into these products.”

Grove Tip

Is it easy to find bamboo toilet paper?

“Who Gives A Crap, Seedling by Grove, and Caboo are among toilet paper brands that offer tissue products made from bamboo, which is a fast-growing crop that requires less land than traditional wood fiber.” —Shelley Vinyard

Try Seedling by Grove's Tree-Free 3-Ply Toilet Paper

This toilet paper is made from soft, strong, sustainable bamboo fibers in thick 3-ply sheets. With every purchase you help replant American forestland.

Grove shopper, Sarah Beth M. said "My husband and I were wanting clean options when we got married and moved in together. I found Grove and ordered this, along with other items, and were obsessed! One box lasts us a long time considering it’s bamboo but it’s wonderful, clean option compared to other toilet papers on the market."

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How is bamboo toilet paper made?

To make toilet paper, bamboo stalks are broken down into fibers. The fibers are added to a treatment that turns them into a pulp, which is then soaked, pressed, and turned into rolls of toilet paper. Voila!

Is bamboo toilet paper septic safe?

Bamboo is safe for septic tanks and sewers because it’s a type of grass. Since bamboo is a natural material, it’ll dissolve in water quickly and naturally, leaving nothing behind to jack up your septic tank.

Grove Tip

Bidet vs. bamboo toilet paper: Which is more eco-friendly?

Bidets are more eco-friendly and are gaining popularity in the U.S. at long last.

“Bidets are a great alternative to using tissue products,” says Vinyard. “In fact, bidets require less water per use than the tissue-making process does.”

Widespread acceptance of the bidet could reduce the colossal amount of TP Americans use each year.

What is Seedling by Grove?

Seedling by Grove is our signature tree-free line of everyday products made from 100 percent, fast-growing bamboo fibers. We sustainably harvest our bamboo — we’re panda bear-approved — and we’ve partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to replant forests across the U.S with the Seedling Promise.

That’s right — with every Seedling purchase, you help replant American forestland. Seedling is soft, strong, and sustainable, because you — and the Earth — deserve a product that’s a branch above.

Why are eco-friendly products so expensive?

One of the most frequently asked questions around sustainable products is, Why are they so expensive?

The higher expense of sustainable and ethical products has to do with several factors:

  • The higher cost of organic farming. Natural, plant-based products generally contain organically grown ingredients and components. From the bamboo in toilet paper and toothbrushes, the cotton in tote bags and towels, and all of the herbs and plant extracts in beauty products, growing organically requires more labor to manage weeds and pests without harsh chemicals.
  • Ethical labor practices. Most brands that produce earth-friendly products are also concerned with fair employment practices and provide their workers with fair wages and safe working conditions, which come with a higher price tag.
  • Higher processing costs. Producing green products is typically more expensive than producing their conventional counterparts. Green producers are often smaller operations that can’t afford large-scale manufacturing facilities, so there’s more time and worker pay involved in the production process. Secondly, relatively low demand means green companies aren’t producing at scale, so the cost per unit is higher.
  • The high cost of environmental certifications. Getting a product certified by a third party like USDA Organic, the EPA’s Safer Choice, Leaping Bunny, or the Forest Stewardship Council is a very expensive and time-consuming process. Consumers pay more for the peace of mind of knowing the products they’re buying are certified by trusted organizations.

Shop all of Seedling for eco-friendly bamboo paper products

Seedling Tree-Free 3-Ply Toilet Paper

Seedling toilet paper is made from 100% bamboo fibers with three plush layers for supreme absorption, softness, and strength.

It’s septic tank and sewer friendly, plus each jumbo roll comes with 20% more product than other bamboo toilet papers.

Seedling Tree-Free 2-Ply Paper Towels

These super strong 2-ply sheets are an eco-friendly way to wipe up dastardly spills and messes with tree-free paper that helps plant trees.

They’ve even got half sheet perforation that lets you choose the amount you use to get things clean, sustainably.

Seedling Tree-Free Compostable Kitchen Wipes

Fragrance-free, durable, and efficient, Seedling’s ultra-absorbent wipes are designed to make your appliances sparkle.

We’ve crafted them with 100% bamboo that’s 100% compostable so you can clean up kitchen messes with zero waste.

Seedling Tree-Free Tissue Paper

Designed with squishy-soft bamboo fibers for tree-free TLC that soothes runny noses and sops up small messes without sacrificing the planet.

Each tissue is built with three strong, absorbent layers of 100% bamboo that’s been certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Seedling Reusable Paper Towel

Seedling’s reusable paper towels are made from 100% bamboo for a multi-use product that’s a branch above the rest.

Its ultra-durable construction is ideal for cleaning up messes and wiping down surfaces, plus it’s easy to clean — and easy on the planet.

Shop for more natural bamboo products from Grove

What is Grove Collaborative?

Did you know U.S. companies make 76 million pounds of plastic every day, but only 9% of plastic is recycled. At Grove, we think it's time to stop making plastic. Today, we're plastic neutral. By 2025, we'll be 100% plastic-free! Plus, everything sold at Grove is nontoxic, sustainable, and cruelty-free.

Do I get a free gift with my first order?

At Grove, we love gifts. With your first order, you can choose a free Mrs. Meyer's Cleaning Set or a Grove gift set.

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