Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper Review: recycled, bamboo, plastic-free

By Courteney

Last Updated:

Today we’re going to talk about Who Gives A Crap…

well, I guess we all do… 😉

But specifically, we’re talking about Who Gives A Crap toilet paper!

Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper Review

Affiliate disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please read our affiliate disclaimer for more info. Thank you for your support!

Toilet paper was one of the first “zero waste” swaps we made when we started living zero waste. We know that technically, using a non-reusable product like toilet paper isn’t “zero” waste. But living zero waste for us means being more mindful of our choices, so that we can reduce our impact on the environment.

If you want to go full on zero waste there are some options for that, such as family cloth and a bidet, but we’re not ready for that switch yet, and that’s where Who Gives A Crap toilet paper comes in.

Why is toilet paper bad for the environment?

Before we start talking about Who Gives A Crap, we should probably answer the following question first:

Why did we swap out our toilet paper when we started on our zero waste journey if it’s not really a “zero waste” swap?

Originally, we were just thinking: “oh, our toilet paper comes in plastic packaging, so, since we’re doing zero waste, we should find a toilet paper that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic.”

It wasn’t until after we bought our first plastic-free toilet paper (Sustainable Earth by Staples) that we found out that traditional toilet paper is actually really bad for the environment.

This is because traditional toilet paper is made from virgin tree pulp taken from trees cut down in forests, like Canada’s boreal forest.

So, basically that means trees are being cut down just for the purpose of wiping our bums. They call this the tree-to-toilet pipeline.

When I read about this, I was shocked. I guess I had never really thought about where toilet paper was coming from. If I was asked where I thought toilet paper came from a year ago I’m not sure what my answer would have been, I just never thought about it.

But thankfully, this is where brands like Who Gives A Crap come in.

About Who Gives A Crap

Who Gives A Crap is an environmentally friendly tissue products company based in Australia. They also have bases in the UK and USA, and they now even have a Canadian website too.

They are mainly known for their toilet papers. They sell both 100% recycled toilet paper and 100% bamboo toilet paper. In addition to toilet papers, they also sell forest friendly tissues, forest friendly paper towels, and a reusable paper towel alternative.

Who Gives A Crap was started when they learned that over 2.3 billion people in the world don’t have access to a toilet. This is a serious health issue, as “289,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation.”

So, through a crowdfunding campaign, Who Gives A Crap was started with the goal that 50% of their profits are to be donated to build toilets and improve sanitation where it’s needed.

You read that correctly! They donate 50% of their profits! That means, when you purchase Who Gives A Crap’s products, you’re technically making a donation as well as purchasing toilet paper.

So far, Who Gives A Crap has donated over $10 million Australian dollars to date! That’s about $9.4 million Canadian dollars or $7.4 million American dollars.

They’re also a B Corp certified company (see their B Impact score here).

The toilet paper options: recycled and bamboo

You have two options when it comes to the type of toilet paper Who Gives A Crap offers:

1) 100% recycled toilet paper (3-ply)

2) premium 100% bamboo toilet paper (3-ply)

What is recycled toilet paper?

Recycled toilet paper is toilet paper made of paper-type content that has been recycled. The recycled content is classified into two categories: post-consumer and pre-consumer.

Who Gives A Crap’s 100% recycled toilet paper is made from ~95% post-consumer recycled paper and ~5% pre-consumer recycled paper (just an FYI, the distinction between “post-consumer” and “pre-consumer” means a lot, check out why here under “Recycled Content” on page 13).

Who Gives A Crap primarily gets their post-consumer recycled paper from local schools, so they mainly use recycled textbooks, workbooks, office paper, and the like.

What is bamboo toilet paper?

The bamboo option is a “tree-free” option as it’s made from, you guessed it, 100% bamboo.

Bamboo is a sustainable option because it’s actually a grass, and when you harvest it, it self-regenerates from its own roots. It also grows quickly and requires little maintenance (i.e. irrigation or fertilization).

We didn’t know which option would be the better choice at the time, and we knew we’d end up using it all anyway, so for our first order we ordered a box of both the recycled and bamboo toilet paper (48 rolls per box).

It’s a good thing we have the room, because 96 rolls of toilet paper takes up a bunch of space.

Recycled vs bamboo: which is better for the environment?

Both recycled and bamboo have their pros and cons with respect to the environment, and a great place to read more about that is in the 2019 report by the NRDC, “The Issue with Tissue: How Americans are Flushing Forests Down the Toilet.”

But just for simplicity’s sake, recycled toilet paper is currently best for the environment overall as it repurposes waste rather than making a whole brand-new product. Remember the R’s of sustainability!

That doesn’t mean that all recycled toilet papers are more eco-friendly than bamboo toilet papers. It depends on factors such as how much of the recycled content is post-consumer vs pre-consumer material, and whether or not the bamboo is farmed sustainably, etc.

In the case of Who Gives A Crap’s 100% recycled and 100% bamboo toilet papers, their 100% recycled TP is much more environmentally friendly than their bamboo TP.

If you’d like to read more about it, the NRDC recently released their third sustainability “report card” for common toilet paper brands and both Who Gives A Crap 100% Recycled TP and Premium 100% Bamboo TP are on the list: “The Issue with Tissue 2021 Scorecard.”

Their 100% Recycled TP was graded an A+ (595/600) and their Premium 100% Bamboo TP was graded a D (200/600). Actually, of all the toilet papers graded by the NRDC in 2021, Who Gives A Crap 100% Recycled TP had the highest grading.

*It’s important to note that the highest score (600/600) can only be achieved by 100% recycled toilet papers, and the highest score a 100% bamboo toilet paper can receive is a B+ (500/600). It’s also important to note that 100% recycled toilet papers can still receive scores lower than 100% bamboo toilet papers, with a B (400/600) being the lowest score a 100% recycled toilet paper can receive, based on the factors the NRDC uses in their report.

Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper Review

First impressions: how does it arrive? what is it packaged in?

Our order arrived on our front doorstep by mail.

It’s a plastic-free toilet paper (other than the tape on the box, which they’re currently working on). So, the rolls all come in a recycled cardboard box and each roll is packaged individually in recycled paper.

You might be wondering: “why is each roll individually packaged? Isn’t this not very environmentally friendly?”

Well, to follow sanitary guidelines the toilet paper needs to be packaged in something and not just the cardboard box it comes in. Who Gives A Crap explains their options were to:

  1. individually package the rolls in an eco-friendly packaging (i.e. what they’re doing right now),
  2. package a few rolls together in some very processed paper to make the paper stronger (i.e. not a more eco-friendly packaging), or
  3. plastic wrap.

So, we personally are happy with the individual packaging at the moment.

Second impressions: how does it feel? how does it perform?

As mentioned previously, we tried both the 100% recycled toilet paper and the 100% bamboo toilet paper. However, we also gave a roll of each to a few of our neighbours (back in December pre-COVID-19) to also get their opinions.

…and it was a consensus:

the 100% bamboo toilet paper was both stronger and softer than the 100% recycled toilet paper, but they were pretty close.

Now, we had read about recycled toilet papers before purchasing them and we’d read that a lot feel recycled in a very bad way, but Who Gives A Crap’s toilet paper feels and performs excellently.

Who Gives A Crap vs public washroom toilet paper

Who Gives A Crap’s toilet papers blow any public washroom toilet paper we’ve used out of the water with their quality. They are both much stronger and softer than any public washroom toilet paper we’ve ever tried (and we’ve tried a lot).

I’ve read where some people believe otherwise, but I really, truthfully think the quality of their toilet paper is so much better.

Who Gives A Crap vs “traditional” toilet paper brands

In our honest opinions, we think Who Gives A Crap’s toilet paper (both the 100% recycled and bamboo) are on par with the quality of the toilet paper made by the leading “traditional” toilet paper brands.

Who Gives A Crap’s toilet paper, both the recycled and bamboo, are not as soft as the leading “traditional” toilet paper brands, but after a few uses you really don’t notice anything.

Neither are scratchy and both are strong (with the bamboo being stronger), they’re just not “fuzzy” soft, but they’re perfect for wiping your “down under.”

Truthfully, after having used them for many months I actually like the feel of Who Give’s A Crap’s toilet paper so much more.

Price of Who Gives A Crap toilet papers

2022 Update: we’ve updated the costs section of our review since Who Gives A Crap now has a website for customers from Canada and they’ve also updated their prices in general too. In 2020 it cost an extra $8 USD (~$10 CAD) to ship to Canada. This has now changed for those living in Ontario or BC to free shipping on orders over $30 CAD. If you live in AB, SK, MB, YT, NS, NB or PEI it’s still $10 CAD for orders over $30 CAD. However, they don’t currently ship to QC, NWT, NU, or NL.

Disclaimer: since we’re stationed in North America, we’re only going over WGAC prices for Canada and the USA.

As of March 2022, there are two options for the recycled toilet paper: 

i) 24 rolls for $50 CAD ($38 USD), or

ii) 48 rolls for $78 CAD ($62 USD). 

There are also two options for the bamboo toilet paper:

i) 24 rolls for $54 CAD ($44 USD) or

ii) 48 rolls for $84 CAD ($68 USD).

So, the better deal is to purchase the box of 48 rolls and the recycled toilet paper is the less expensive option.

Cost of Who Gives A Crap vs other brands

But to truly understand the cost, you kind of need to see it versus other brands’ prices. So, we found a study conducted by YourBestDigs.com on “The Best Toilet Paper”, which like this review, has recently been updated in 2022.

YourBestDigs.com chose the toilet papers they were reviewing after extensive research to see which toilet paper brands represented the most popular choices out there, along with a few alternative newcomers.

Based on their report, we made the following table for comparison:

Toilet Paper Cost Comparisions for Who Gives A Crap Review - updated 2022
Price comparison of Who Gives A Crap vs popular toilet paper brands. Values from YourBestDigs.com and us.WhoGivesACrap.org; price in USD. This table was last updated in March 2022.

Cost summary of Who Gives A Crap toilet paper

Looking at the above numbers (including the ply #), Who Gives A Crap’s cost is clearly on par with the popular and premium toilet papers out there today.

Both of Who Gives A Crap’s TPs are 3-ply. Their 100% Recycled TP is equal in price or less expensive than the other 3-ply toilet papers listed, and it’s also less expensive than some of the 2-ply TPs.

While their 100% Bamboo TP is designed to be premium toilet paper, meaning it’s likely to have the price tag to match, it’s also not the most expensive.

So, although Who Gives A Crap’s toilet paper is not the cheapest available, it’s actually rather average. You do have to pay more for the more premium bamboo toilet paper, but the recycled toilet paper is more environmentally friendly anyway.

The other brands that are less expensive than the 100% Recycled TP are also all 2-ply or 1-ply, which means you might be paying a bit less per square foot of toilet paper, but you may also need to use more square feet of TP per wipe if you choose a cheaper and lower ply.

In our opinion, if you live within North America’s free shipping areas (Ontario, British Columbia, continental USA), the price is definitely worth the product AND the environmental benefits.

Also, something to keep in mind is that half the profits are donated to organizations that are working to ensure that everyone has access to clean water and a toilet. So, a portion of your purchase is actually a donation! It’s simply included in the price.

Reasons to love Who Gives A Crap

  • their products use no virgin wood, i.e. no trees are cut down to make their paper products
  • they donate 50% of their profits
  • their products are plastic-free as of July 2019, other than some packaging tape, which they’re working on
  • you purchase in bulk = shipping in bulk = less shipping = better for the environment
  • 2022 update: they ship CARBON NEUTRAL!
  • their toilet paper is biodegradable
  • their toilet paper is septic tank safe
  • their packaging is compostable and recyclable
  • they don’t test on animals & their products are vegan
  • they don’t add inks, dyes or scents to their products

The only reason we can think of to not love Who Gives A Crap is the shipping costs or lack of shipping if you live in North America but you don’t live in Ontario, BC, or the continental USA.

Otherwise, we LOVE Who Gives A Crap! (and we hope you will too!)

Pros of the 100% recycled toilet paper

  • it’s made from 95% post-consumer recycled paper
  • it was graded an almost perfect sustainability score on the NRDC’s “The Issue with Tissue Scorecard 2021” report!!!
  • it feels great! It’s not kitten soft but it doesn’t need to be.
  • it works great! It’s strong enough for the job. We’ve had barely any issues with “bits on the bum”, “poking” through or leaking through.
  • Did we already say that it’s one of the most environmentally friendly options for toilet paper out there? Yes? Well, I just really wanted to say it again because it makes me so happy ?.

Cons of the 100% recycled toilet paper

  • cost when compared to cheap traditional brands, especially if you’re buying from Canada; though it’s on par with popular/premium traditional brands
  • where they ship from: China (the con is the distance, not the country)

Pros of the premium 100% bamboo toilet paper

  • they use an alternative to virgin wood
  • it feels great! Again, it’s not kitten soft but it doesn’t need to be. Though it is softer than the 100% recycled toilet paper.
  • it works great! It’s stronger than the 100% recycled toilet paper.

Cons of the premium 100% bamboo toilet paper

  • the cost. It’s more expensive than the 100% recycled toilet paper and it definitely has a premium cost, especially if you’re buying from Canada.
  • it’s much less environmentally friendly than their 100% recycled toilet paper
  • based on the NRDC’s buyer’s guide for sustainable toilet papers, Who Gives A Crap’s bamboo toilet paper could be a lot more environmentally friendly. The highest score/grade a bamboo toilet paper product can receive is a 500/B+, where Who Gives A Crap 100% Premium Bamboo Toilet Paper has only received a score/grade of 200/D.

Alternative Eco-friendly Toilet Paper Options We’ve Tried

Prior to purchasing and using Who Gives A Crap toilet paper, we first purchased and used two other plastic-free and 100% recycled toilet paper brands:

  • Sustainable Earth by Staples
  • Cascades Pro Perform

2022 Update: It seems that Staples no longer makes/sells Sustainable Earth by Staples 100% Recycled TP, nor can we find the exact version of Cascades Pro Perform that we used back in 2019/2020. However, we’re still going to talk about them because we think it can be helpful to see part of someone’s low waste journey and the reasons behind the decisions that were made.

Two different toilet paper rolls made from recycled paper sitting on a counter. Sustainable Earth by Staples wrapped toilet paper on the left and Cascades Pro Perform wrapped toilet paper on the right.
Sustainable Earth by Staples (left) and Cascades Pro Perform (right).

We’re currently living in a house with 3.5 adults (one’s away at school for 2/3 of the year). Everyone has their own opinion and not everyone is as proactive as everyone else in the house when it comes to living zero waste. I’m sure many people can relate.

So, when choosing (and sticking with) zero waste swaps, it’s important that the whole household is okay with the choices being made.

Therefore, after using both Sustainable Earth by Staples and Cascades Pro Perform, it was imperative that we find an alternate zero waste toilet paper, which was where Who Gives A Crap came in.

But first, why we had to keep looking for an alternative:

I’m personally not that picky when it comes to toilet paper (though I really don’t like public washroom toilet paper). And when we decided to make the switch from our normal, whichever’s-on-sale toilet paper to a plastic-free toilet paper, I was good with whatever because I believed that the plastic-free part was more important than the quality of the toilet paper.

After having done a bunch more reading, I now know that not using virgin tree pulp is one of the most important qualities of the toilet paper. Definitely, much more than the softness (or even the plastic-free bit).

However, like I said, I’m not living alone and it’s important that everyone is happy.

So, first we tried Sustainable Earth by Staples Bathroom Tissue, and it wasn’t a success. It wasn’t at the quality of public washroom toilet paper but it was close. It’s 2-ply, whereas both of Who Gives A Crap’s toilet papers are 3-ply, and you can really tell the difference.

Next, we tried Cascades Pro Perform, which is also 2-ply and also wasn’t a success. It was better than the Sustainable Earth by Staples and I definitely could have kept using it, but we hadn’t yet reached a consensus as a household.

Which was when we found Who Gives A Crap!

However, if you (and your household) are really not picky, then quality-wise we think that toilet papers like the Sustainable Earth by Staples and Cascades Pro Perform toilet papers are just fine.

They both cost less than Who Gives A Crap, with the prices back in 2020 being:

  • Sustainable Earth by Staples at $0.18 CAD/100 sheets
  • Cascades Pro Perform at $0.25 CAD/100 sheets

whereas, in 2020 the least expensive option of Who Gives A Crap was:

  • $0.34 CAD/100 sheets (not including shipping fees).

Another 2022 Update: We’ve also now tried two other sustainable bamboo toilet paper brands, Roll Up and Flush. We still need to do a review on both, but so far, we have no complaints about either of them, though we do prefer Who Gives A Crap’s 100% Recycled Toilet Paper.

However, since this is a review for Who Gives A Crap, we’re not going to get any deeper into alternatives right now. I just wanted to explain our thinking process and our journey to getting to Who Gives A Crap.

We’ll be doing an in-depth TP brand comparison in the future.

The Bottom Line

Remember that living zero waste is a journey, just like all lifestyle changes, and part of that journey is being mindful of the products we choose to buy and the brands we choose to back.

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”

– Anna Lappé

Overall, Who Gives A Crap delivers on being the kind of brand that I feel good about spending my money on.

They promise that their toilet papers are “good for the world”, “good for people”, and “good for your bum”, and they definitely deliver on this promise.

While the price is a bit steep compared to the various brands we used to pick up in Walmart’s aisles, both the 100% recycled and bamboo options are close to being on par with the most popular brands found in YourBestDigs.com’s study on “The Best Toilet Paper.”

And even though Who Gives A Crap’s 100% Recycled TP is more expensive than 2-ply 100% recycled brands like Sustainable Earth by Staples and Cascades Pro Perform, the quality of Who Gives A Crap’s toilet papers is very noticeably superior.

Therefore, after trying out a variety of plastic-free toilet paper, both 100% recycled and bamboo, and learning more about the environmental impacts of each, we’ve decided to continue using Who Gives A Crap’s 100% recycled toilet paper, and we really recommend that you try it out too!

We’ve chosen their 100% recycled toilet paper over their bamboo toilet paper because the recycled option:

  • is much more environmentally friendly
  • costs less
  • is almost equal in quality, even though the bamboo is softer and stronger

However, we’re open to suggestions and evaluating alternatives if you use something else or are interested in using something else (as long as we have access to it in Canada). Let us know below in the comments!

…so, what are you waiting for?

But, where can you get Who Gives A Crap toilet paper?

You can order it online!

They have e-commerce sites for:

Currently, they offer wholesale in Australia, the UK, and the USA so you may be able to find it in stores in those countries.

They also have subscriptions! and the great thing about them is that you don’t have to stick to a rigid schedule. They email you before your shipment is supposed be sent in order to check if you’re ready for more toilet paper. If you’re not ready, then you can change your schedule. There are no worries that you’ll be stuck with a house full of toilet paper.

Oh, before we leave here… you’ve probably noticed the epic designs on Who Gives A Crap’s packaging, here are some unique and not-so-unique ways to repurpose it:

How to repurpose your Who Gives A Crap packaging

Paper wrappers

If you haven’t noticed in the pictures in this post, the paper wrappers that each toilet paper roll is wrapped have some really awesome designs. Here are some ways to get more use out of your paper wrappers so they don’t have to go straight into the recycling or compost:

  • gift wrap (our Christmas presents will look epic this year and Grandma will be wondering why there are sayings like “please do more ones and twos” and “give yourself a pat on the bum” on her gifts)
  • tissue paper for gifts
  • packaging materials for shipping items

Cardboard tubes

  • cricket “houses” (the crickets are for our gecko)
  • diy plant starter pots
  • “browns” for your compost

Cardboard boxes

Rolls of Who Gives A Crap toilet paper in a cardboard box.
Things to do with the boxes. #WHOGIVESACRAP

Who Gives A Crap wrote some suggestions on the box itself:

  • Cat mansion
  • Spaceship
  • Batmobile
  • Lemonade stand
  • Cheap coffee table
  • Large hat
  • House for small humans (or in our case: large cats)
Eco-friendly plastic-free toilet paper - Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper Review
Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper Review

We’d love to hear from you!

Have you tried Who Gives A Crap products yet? What did you think? Do you use any other eco-friendly toilet tissues? Have you graduated to bidets or family cloths yet? If so, please share your tips! We’d love to hear all about your experiences, so remember to comment below!

5 thoughts on “Who Gives A Crap Toilet Paper Review: recycled, bamboo, plastic-free”

  1. These are the must take steps to save our environment, i really appreciate you for this blog. This blog is going to encourage people for bamboo toilet paper and save the environment. Thanks for the share buddy!!

    Reply
  2. Hello and thanks for the review.

    Just had to point out that recycling your wrappers, cores and cardboard is more environmentally friendly than composting them. I’ve worked in this field for 23 years, btw.

    Reply
  3. Thanks guys. Hemp and bamboo are both sustainable and renewable materials. They’re biodegradable so they’re ideal for sensitive skin. Thanks for your article I can know that. So I will consider to use them to protect environment.

    Reply
  4. Hi,

    I loved this TP, but recently, I received a box of the 48-roll, 100% recycled tp. It came in a way that was packed by throwing the rolls, smashing some of them. Also, and this is key, there are only 2-ply now, it looks like Trader Joe’s tp, and it’s not as soft or good. I’m very disappointed. I’ve contacted them and hope they fix this. I’ve used this for 4 years now.

    Thanks for all of the alternatives. I’ve referred this company and love its mission, but I don’t like this.

    Reply

Leave a comment