How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Reusing Toilet Paper

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint By Reusing Toilet Paper


Reusing toilet paper may sound unappealing at first, but it can actually help the environment significantly. Toilet paper has a large carbon footprint due to the trees cut down to make it and the energy used to produce it. By reusing toilet paper, you can reduce your carbon emissions and make a difference. In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about reusing toilet paper to shrink your environmental impact.

Why Reuse Toilet Paper?

  • Toilet paper requires a massive amount of trees to be cut down each year. Reusing TP reduces demand for virgin tree pulp.
  • It takes a lot of energy and water to produce toilet paper. Reusing TP decreases these inputs.
  • Toilet paper must be transported long distances. Reusing TP eliminates transportation emissions.
  • Used toilet paper produces methane if landfilled. Reusing TP avoids landfill methane.
  • Overall, reusing toilet paper can reduce your personal carbon footprint significantly.

How To Reuse Toilet Paper

Reusing toilet paper takes some preparation but is straightforward. Here are the key steps:

Buy Reusable Toilet Paper

  • Purchase toilet paper marketed as reusable, such as family cloth. Or, repurpose old cotton t-shirts or towels.
  • Ensure the material is absorbent and durable enough to reuse. Soft fabrics like flannel work best.
  • Pre-cut the material into toilet paper sized squares for convenience.

Establish a Collection System

  • Place a small bin or bucket in the bathroom to collect used toilet paper. Use one with a lid to contain odors.
  • Line the collection bin with a small trash bag for easy emptying.
  • Empty the bin into your laundry regularly.

Wash and Reuse

  • When laundering reused toilet paper, wash on hot with bleach or other sanitizing agents.
  • Hang dry or machine dry on high heat to fully sanitize.
  • Once dry, reused toilet paper is ready to go right back in the bathroom.

Using Reused Toilet Paper

Using reused toilet paper takes some getting used to but isn’t as different as you may think:

  • Use reused toilet paper the same way you would regular toilet paper.
  • Expect a slightly different texture depending on the material. Soft flannel has a nice feel.
  • Pat gently rather than wiping vigorously to avoid tearing thinner material.
  • Discard in the collection bin rather than flushing down the toilet.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after using reused toilet paper.

Is Reusing Toilet Paper Safe?

Reusing toilet paper is safe if proper sanitation guidelines are followed:

  • Wash in hot water with bleach to disinfect reused toilet paper after every use.
  • Ensure TP is fully dried on a high heat setting before reusing.
  • Use rigorous hand hygiene after handling reused toilet paper.
  • Monitor for any odors or visible soiling and discard soiled TP.

Reused toilet paper is handled no differently than other laundered items like underwear or bath towels. Proper cleaning and drying removes pathogens.

Going Further to Reduce Your Footprint

Reusing toilet paper can dramatically shrink your carbon footprint. But you can go even further:

  • Install a bidet – Using a bidet for cleansing eliminates toilet paper entirely.
  • Compost used TP – Composting soiled toilet paper keeps it out of carbon-releasing landfills.
  • Limit paper use – Using reusable family cloth for just #1 reduces toilet paper waste.
  • Buy recycled paper – When buying virgin TP, choose 100% recycled paper.

Any reduction in toilet paper use helps the planet! Start reusing today.


Reusing toilet paper may seem unorthodox at first glance. However, with the right materials and sanitary handling, it can be done safely and reduce your carbon footprint significantly. Given the large environmental impact of virgin toilet paper manufacturing, reusing TP is an easy way to lower your emissions and benefit the planet. With some adjustment to your bathroom routine, you can reuse toilet paper and make a real difference.