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toilet paper rolls

Bamboo is an amazingly versatile material. It can even serve as one of the essential, if not always thought of (until you need it!) elements of your bathroom.

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Recently, I was looking for toilet paper. Nothing “good” was on sale, but there on the bottom right was something I’d heard of but not seen before: Bamboo toilet paper.

Now I don’t know about you, but I take my toilet paper choices seriously. As “environmental” as I get about most things in life, I draw the line at compromising toilet paper in favor of Mother Earth. Because: Tender bitsies be tender!

Maybe it was because I was imbued by Christmas spirit of goodness and sacrifice. Or maybe it was because a stamp on the bag said “Voted Product of the Year (2013)” by the Canada Consumer Survey of Product Innovation. Either way, I decided to risk the tender bitsies and save Mother Earth, 12 rolls at a time.

While the product I bought is for sale in Canada only, there’s an American offering available as well.

Buying toilet paper is the easy part, using it? Oof. That’s when judgment rears its angry head, am I right?

The verdict, you ask?

It was strong paper, yet not as “thick” as the popular “cushy” brands of toilet paper out there, but was still soft. It didn’t tear or rip during use, either. But the most impressive thing I noticed about the Silk’n’Soft bamboo paper was virtually zero dust or lint coming off the roll.

As someone with an awful bathroom that has zero air circulation and no fan, toilet paper fluff/dust poses a big problem first thing in the morning, and a lot of toilet papers seem to have paper “lint” flying off it as I pull a few sheets from the roll. There was virtually no detectable dust amassing from this toilet paper. I was shocked. I’ve never seen an allergy-friendly paper like this. Interestingly, they don’t list that as one of the product pluses on the package, but it was certainly my experience.

Just how good is it for Mother Earth, though? Is that all hype?

bamboo forest gate

Bamboo: the gateway to sustainability (and softness?)

Bamboo by the numbers

If you believe the statistics, more than 27,000 trees come down DAILY around the world for toilet paper alone. 27,000. Your average mature tree can take 60 years to reach harvest size, and 27,000 of those are cut down daily.

Compare that to bamboo and it’s shocking. With 1,500 species of bamboo around the world, some grow two feet a day. Two feet a day! It’s a member of the grass family, and clearly that shows in its growth. It’s a super-hardy plant, known to be almost weedlike in its ability to take root in all kinds of places, and as a result it doesn’t need fertilizer or pesticides, making it easier to grow.

Harvesting bamboo leaves the root structure intact, and if you cut some, more will grow. Then there’s the atmospheric pluses to growing bamboo. Its “forests” absorb 35% more carbon than trees, and produce 35% more clean oxygen too.

Many, many uses

Today, bamboo is proving to be one of the most versatile fibres in the world. From our extensive line of bamboo floors to pile rugs, you’ll find bamboo throughout BuildDirect’s inventory. But there are all kinds of products being created from bamboo — from “plastic” bottles to schoolbooks and clothing, bamboo doesn’t seem to have a lot of limits.

And then a friend showed me this, an actual bicycle frame made with resin-enforced bamboo. While it isn’t the first bamboo frame, this isn’t gimmicky and is made for serious riders, the frame’s weight topping out at just seven pounds.

Is bamboo the perfect product? Well, depends where it’s sourced. But if you consider all the environmental costs of all the other products we use, doesn’t bamboo offer a best-case-scenario for sustainability?

If you’re looking for something more eco-conscious in your bathroom, maybe bamboo toilet paper will help you wipe away some of the sins of commercialism, without proving a rough adjustment for those tender bitsies we all like to protect.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.