I know Thursday’s are usually review days but I have to admit this is kind of not a review… although I will touch on my experience with this brand.This week I have seen various things on social media about whether or not Who Gives a Crap toilet paper (and other products) are actually sustainable and ethical. And believe me people can get a little passionate about this!
So what’s the drama? The issue people have been primarily discussing is the individually wrapped toilet papers and the fact their products are shipped in from China. People have been using this to argue that the brand is not actually ethical but what criteria should you actually use to decide is a product is ethical or not…
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What to look for in an ethical company:
If you are seeing things like this on the internet for a brand you thought you could trust I recommend two key ways to find out whether the company is really ethical. First, check out whether the company has certifications such as Fairtrade or B-Corps, these are really good indicators due to independent assessment bodies ensuring that the company is meeting the highest standards. The second thing you want to do is check out Ethical Consumer. They are an incredible online magazine giving ‘Ethiscores’, ranks them compared to other companies as well as giving explanations about why the company is good or bad.
Take toilet paper for instance, they rank based on the following good criteria:
- Is it recycled?
- Is it made from alternative fibres?
- Is the packaging recyclable?
And the bad criteria:
- Is it made from virgin wood pulp?
- Is it made using bleach?
- Is it wrapped in plastic?
This is just an example of course but I hope you can see here that there is a very detailed assessment that occurs.
What about Who Gives a Crap?
So lets start with the certifications. Who Gives a Crap is B-Corps Certified. This is one of the most prestigious accreditations a company can receive so you can be assured that they maintain the highest levels of environmental and social ethics. Not only that but they are actually the highest rated toilet paper brand on Ethical Consumer. Makes you wonder whether those people on social media really know what they’re talking about? I think it is safe to say in terms of ethical practices you’re pretty safe here.
Why do Who Gives a Crap individually wrap toilet rolls?
According to the Who Gives a Crap blog, their toilet rolls are individually wrapped to avoid moisture absorption and to maintain hygiene. They argue that, they limit the resources need by individually wrapping with thinner paper as opposed to wrapping multiples in the thicker paper that would be essential. I can’t claim to be an expert in this area but it does seem to make sense to me. If you want to read their full post you can check it out here.
Another important point I want to mention is that a large part of why the rolls are individually wrapped is due to the relatively iconic branding. This means it is simply to make them look pretty. Something in their favour though is that vegetable inks and paper they use are home compostable, recyclable and even have tips on for reusing their paper.
Would it be better if the rolls weren’t individually wrapped? Yes, probably but ethical and sustainable practices are a lot more complicated than that.
What about shipping from China?
So first of all, Who Gives a Crap is an Australian company with bases in the UK and USA. Their website has a very detailed article about this which I will link here. I think this is better than my botch job of trying to explain. Simply put, they work extremely closely with their workers in China and are able to use raw material in a unique way, limiting imports, by having their base there. Among other things, it has allowed them to expand faster and have bases around the world. The company is currently looking to expand to have more local production bases outside of China.
Do I think Who Gives a Crap is Ethical?
In short, yes. When it comes to things like this, I always find it is most important to rely on those who have a much deeper understanding of the inner workings of companies than I do, in ways I mentioned above. I think sustainable living is such a balancing act, much like ethical practices are. I said in my very first post that there is no perfect solution and I stand by that.
In the past, I have used Who Gives a Crap among other brands and ultimately, these are a much better choice than anything you could get in the supermarket. Another great thing about this company and why I have personally supported them is due to their commitment to donating 50% of profits to help build toilets in developing countries. I think this is a really good example of where the heart of the company is. Are they perfect? No, but they are doing the absolute best they can for now and are in continual development to improve like many other sustainable companies.
My thoughts on their products
I have mentioned in my bathroom swaps post, I have used their recycled toilet roll in the past. Is it my favourite? I’m honestly not sure. It’s an odd one for me and is very much a grower. Initially, I was a little disappointed with it as it didn’t feel the best quality but when I used it I found it was remarkably soft. At the end of the day toilet roll is a very personal thing so the only way you can know for sure is if you try it yourself. If you don’t want to commit to a large box, you can often find single rolls in refill stores.
The only real negative experience I have had with this brand, is the paper tends to be a little flaky. You know what I mean when you have used bog roll that leaves little pieces of itself on your bits. It doesn’t happen often but one or two times I have experienced this which isn’t the best.
Would I buy it again? Probably. Am I still exploring to find my perfect sustainable toilet roll? Absolutely! I intend on trying their bamboo ones at some point in the not too distant future. Currently, however, my flat has more loo roll than we can get through! My next one to try is Uranus Wiper which I will write a full review of next month.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post and weren’t too disappointed that it wasn’t my usual review style. Make sure you comment down below your thoughts on what I have shared today. If you aren’t already be sure to follow me on all of the various social medias that are linked below. This is a must if you want to get the full Little By Lottie experience. Let’s be honest why wouldn’t you want that! See you soon.