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Is Toilet Paper Biodegradable? Everything You Need To Know

6 mins read. Published on 24 Apr 23, Updated on 01 Jun 23.
Is Toilet Paper Biodegradable? Everything You Need To Know

Toilet paper is a basic household essential that we use on a daily basis. However, have you ever wondered what happens to it once it's flushed down the toilet? Does it biodegrade or does it harm the environment? In this blog post, we will explore whether or not toilet paper is biodegradable and what you need to know about this common household item.

At The Good Boutique, we are committed to promoting sustainable shopping practices and reducing our impact on the environment. We believe that it's important to be aware of the impact of even the most basic household items we use every day. So, let's dive into the world of toilet paper and learn everything you need to know about biodegradability.

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Is Toilet Paper Biodegradable? Everything You Need To Know

What Is Toilet Paper?

Toilet paper is a soft and absorbent tissue paper product that is primarily used for cleaning oneself after using the restroom. It is made from wood pulp and/or recycled paper content and comes in various forms such as standard rolls, jumbo rolls, and individual sheets.

Types of Toilet Paper

There are several types of toilet paper, including:

  • Standard Toilet Paper: The most common type of toilet paper used in households and public restrooms
  • Jumbo Rolls: Typically used in commercial settings to reduce the need for frequent refills
  • Bamboo Toilet Paper: An eco-friendly alternative made from sustainable bamboo
  • Recycled Toilet Paper: Made from post-consumer recycled paper content and can be a more eco-friendly option
Is Toilet Paper Biodegradable? Everything You Need To Know

Types Of Toilet Paper

When it comes to choosing toilet paper, there are various options available in the market. Here are some of the most common types of toilet paper:

Recycled Toilet Paper

Recycled toilet paper is made from post-consumer recycled paper. It is an eco-friendly option as it helps reduce the amount of waste in landfills. However, not all recycled toilet papers are biodegradable as they may contain toxic chemicals from the recycling process.

Bamboo Toilet Paper

Bamboo toilet paper is made from bamboo pulp, a sustainable and fast-growing resource. It is biodegradable and compostable, making it an excellent eco-friendly option.

Virgin Toilet Paper

Virgin toilet paper is made from freshly cut trees rather than recycled paper. Although it is soft and luxurious, it is not environmentally friendly and takes longer to biodegrade than other options.

Hemp Toilet Paper

Hemp toilet paper is made from the pulp of the hemp plant. It is a sustainable option as hemp grows quickly and is biodegradable. However, it can be more expensive than other types of toilet papers.

Bidet Toilet Paper

Bidet toilet paper is not actually paper but a stream of water used to clean after using the toilet. It is the most eco-friendly option as it doesn't produce any waste and saves paper usage.

Is Toilet Paper Biodegradable?

Toilet paper is a staple item in most households and workplaces, but have you ever stopped to consider whether it's biodegradable? Simply put, biodegradability refers to a substance's ability to break down naturally in the environment, often through the actions of microorganisms.

Conventional Toilet Paper

Most conventional toilet paper is made from virgin wood pulp, which means it's not biodegradable. This is because the process of turning wood into pulp requires a lot of chemicals, which can remain in the paper even after it's been processed. Additionally, the use of virgin wood contributes to deforestation and habitat destruction.

Alternative Options

Thankfully, there are alternative options available that are biodegradable, such as recycled toilet paper or bamboo toilet paper. Recycled toilet paper is made from post-consumer waste paper and has a similar texture to conventional toilet paper. Bamboo toilet paper is made from bamboo pulp, which is more sustainable than virgin wood pulp and can break down more easily in the environment.

Why Is Biodegradable Toilet Paper Important?

Biodegradable toilet paper is important for a number of reasons, mainly for its positive impact on the environment. Unlike traditional toilet paper, biodegradable toilet paper breaks down rapidly in the presence of microorganisms, which helps prevent the accumulation of waste in landfills and oceans.

Reduced Environmental Impact

Regular toilet paper is made from virgin trees, which makes it non-sustainable and harmful to our environment. The production of traditional toilet paper requires a significant amount of energy and resources, including trees, water, and chemicals. Biodegradable toilet paper, on the other hand, is often made from recycled materials, which reduces the impact of deforestation and limits the use of natural resources. Additionally, since it breaks down quickly, biodegradable toilet paper is less likely to contribute to clogs or damage the pipes in your septic system.

Better for Your Health

Biodegradable toilet paper is typically free of harmful chemicals, such as bleach and formaldehyde, which are often found in traditional toilet paper. These chemicals can cause irritation, especially for individuals with sensitive skin. Biodegradable toilet paper is a better option for those who want to avoid or reduce exposure to these chemicals.

Support for Sustainable Companies

By choosing biodegradable toilet paper, you are supporting sustainable companies that prioritize the use of environmentally friendly and sustainable materials. These companies often work towards further reducing their environmental impact, which is good news for everyone.

How To Choose Biodegradable Toilet Paper

Choosing biodegradable toilet paper is an important step towards sustainability. Here are some factors to consider when making your selection:


Choose toilet paper that is made from sustainable materials like bamboo, recycled paper or hemp. These materials are renewable, biodegradable, and have a lower impact on the environment than virgin wood pulp.

Manufacturing Process

Look for toilet paper that is manufactured using green processes. Avoid toilet paper that has been treated with bleach, as this can release harmful chemicals into the environment. Instead, opt for toilet paper that has been whitened with hydrogen peroxide or ozone.


Check whether the toilet paper has any certifications from independent organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). These certifications ensure that the toilet paper has been produced sustainably and that the manufacturing process meets environmental and social standards.

How To Dispose Of Biodegradable Toilet Paper

When it comes to disposing of biodegradable toilet paper, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure it breaks down properly and doesn't harm the environment. Here are some tips to help you dispose of biodegradable toilet paper:

Dispose of biodegradable toilet paper properly

First and foremost, it's important to dispose of biodegradable toilet paper properly. This means avoiding flushing it down the toilet as it can cause blockages in plumbing systems and harm aquatic life. Instead, you can dispose of it in a compost bin or bury it in soil.


If you have a compost bin, you can dispose of biodegradable toilet paper by adding it to your compost. However, it's important to note that not all composting systems accept human waste, so be sure to check before adding it to your compost.


If you don't have a compost bin, you can bury your biodegradable toilet paper in soil. Make sure to bury it at least 8 inches deep and away from any water sources. This will allow the toilet paper to break down naturally without harming the environment.

Using a Bidet

Another way to reduce your use of toilet paper is by using a bidet. This can significantly reduce the amount of toilet paper you use and therefore, reduce the amount of waste generated. Additionally, bidets are a great way to ensure that you're staying clean and hygienic. Remember, by properly disposing of biodegradable toilet paper, you're helping to reduce waste and protect the environment.

FAQs About Biodegradable Toilet Paper

What is biodegradable toilet paper?

Biodegradable toilet paper is made from materials that can be decomposed by natural means and wont harm the environment. The term œbiodegradable means that the material can break down into natural elements over time, leaving no harmful residuals.

How is biodegradable toilet paper different from regular toilet paper?

Regular toilet paper is made of non-biodegradable materials such as bleached virgin pulp or recycled paper, which can harm the environment when disposed of. Biodegradable toilet paper is made from materials like bamboo, sugarcane, or hemp, which are renewable and can break down naturally, leaving no harmful residues on the environment.

Is biodegradable toilet paper safe for septic tanks?

Yes, biodegradable toilet paper is safe for septic tanks because it is made of materials that can decompose easily and wont harm the septic system. However, it is always recommended to check with your septic tank manufacturer before using any toilet paper or other products to avoid any unexpected damages to your septic system.

Can I flush biodegradable toilet paper?

Yes, you can flush biodegradable toilet paper down the toilet just like regular toilet paper. However, it is always a good idea to check with your plumbing system and local regulations before flushing any toilet paper.

Is biodegradable toilet paper more expensive than regular toilet paper?

Biodegradable toilet paper is often more expensive than regular toilet paper due to the use of renewable materials and eco-friendly manufacturing processes. However, the cost can vary depending on the brand and the quantity you purchase.

How long does biodegradable toilet paper take to decompose?

The time it takes for biodegradable toilet paper to decompose can vary depending on the specific material and conditions in the environment. However, most biodegradable toilet paper can decompose within 1-4 weeks, leaving no harmful residues on the environment.
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