Humans have been using hemp plants for thousands of years, and one of the most underrated uses has been paper products.
You’ll find dozens of different supplements and even textiles made from hemp that are in huge demand.
But why are people not turning more to paper made from hemp?
It’s a question that has bothered me for a while, so I did some research on the topic.
And I found some surprising facts along with some alternatives that could significantly reduce your environmental impact.
Let’s start with the basics of hemp toilet paper.
Hemp toilet paper is a type of tissue paper entirely made from fibers extracted from the hemp plant.
People often think that we need to use regular wood for toilet paper because anything else would be too hard. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Using hemp actually provides a naturally softer paper tissue because the fibers in the stems are finer than their tree equivalent.
This might be a disadvantage for making hemp paper and cardboard, which need to be less flexible, but you’ll struggle to find a more suitable fiber for creating a softer tissue.
Why is this important?
It means that the manufacturing process of hemp toilet paper is a lot less dependent on toxic chemicals to break the fibers down into a soft enough pulp for even the most sensitive buttocks.
Let’s take a closer look at this process.
Surprisingly, the first toilet paper made in the US used hemp as the pulp's source material.
And there’s a good reason why they chose hemp specifically.
To make paper, you have to create pulp out of the fibrous material. This is the same for wood and hemp paper towels, but the process is a lot simpler with hemp.
Why is this?
Basically, wood from trees contains fibers that are a lot harder, and you have to use chemicals to soften them. But hemp has a naturally finer fiber, which makes this process less intense.
The initial pulp also contains lignin, and it gives the pulp a brown color. During the pulp preparation, chemicals and bleaches remove this lignin.
But again, hemp has a much lower concentration of lignin, meaning that you can use much more environmentally friendly processes. 
The main reason you should buy hemp toilet paper is because of the significantly lower environmental impact.
Let me put that in perspective.
The paper industry chops down 270,000 trees every day to keep up with toilet paper demand. Yes, that’s per day.
And hemp has two advantages over wood.
First of all, it contains three times more cellulose fibers than wood pulp, which means that pound for pound, it provides a lot more usable fibers.
But hemp also grows a lot faster than trees, with some varieties having a 20-year growth cycle.
What that means that you can get as much toilet paper per acre of hemp as you would get from 4 acres of trees.
That really puts it into perspective.
During my research, I found a few more benefits of toilet paper made from hemp, and some of them are quite surprising.
If you’ve ever cut into the stem of a hemp plant, you might have noticed that the inside feels soft. It's actually a lot softer than wood or even the stems of other types of shrubs.
It’s these fibers that make hemp such an ideal resource for creating naturally soft toilet paper without the need for intensive processing that uses chemicals.
Now, you might think that those soft fibers I just mentioned would make hemp toilet paper flimsy. But while the fibers are soft, they are also a lot stronger.
Oh, and they absorb five times their own weight in water, but let’s not go into the details of why that’s important in toilet paper.
Hemp is one of the most naturally concentrated plants with the most number of bioactive components. Many of these provide antibacterial benefits, which could be beneficial for women to avoid yeast infections and UTIs.
So, you probably think that all toilet paper is biodegradable, and you would be right.
But because hemp toilet paper contains far fewer chemicals from the initial processing, it breaks down and degrades a lot faster than ordinary paper.
All forms of paper manufacturing use varying amounts of chemicals. This includes the processing of recycled paper. But the naturally fine and soft fibers in hemp and less need for bleaching mean that there is far less chemical waste that risks environmental damage.
The fastest-growing hemp plants will get to a harvestable size in about 20 weeks in ideal growing conditions. As a result, every acre of land cultivated with hemp can produce 4 times as much hemp toilet paper as regular trees.
Hemp is also a highly sustainable crop, as farming methods can ensure that they don’t drain all the soil's nutrients.  The unused leaves degrade quickly and feed nutrients back into the solid for the next crop.
Sustainable forest projects result in animal habitat loss when the trees come down, even if there is a new habitat to replace it.
Because of the faster growing times with hemp, animals have less time to create permanent homes, which would end up destroyed.
The only place I’ve found a reliable source of hemp toilet paper is on Alibaba. One of my local health and wellness stores stocks it occasionally, but not on a reliable basis.
From what I can tell, there are a few reasons for this.
Firstly, governments have restricted the growth of hemp on a larger scale for decades. Changes have happened in recent years, but the supply of hemp is still below the demand.
Secondly, many other hemp products like textiles and supplements are buying up most of the supply, making larger-scale production of hemp toilet paper more difficult.
So, I’ve shown you why hemp is a more environmentally sustainable option for toilet paper, but I’ve also told you that it’s not in great supply.
Fortunately, there is one other alternative to hemp toilet paper, and that’s bamboo toilet paper.
Bamboo paper products have many of the same benefits as hemp, which is why it makes such an excellent alternative to hemp toilet paper.
When you buy products made from bamboo, you need to make sure the bamboo is sustainably sourced (read: FSC-certified); otherwise it could have come from areas that were deforested for the express purpose of growing bamboo.
Jennifer Skene, Environmental Writer
Also, bamboo forests grow 30 times faster than any of the trees used for making paper, making it such a sustainable source.
Here are some of my favorite bamboo toilet paper products.
I have had this one on my Amazon pantry order for several months now, and there are two reasons I keep ordering it.
First of all, the bamboo is sourced from a certified organic plantation to ensure better sustainability.
Secondly, even the packaging that it arrives in is bamboo paper. I should also mention that it’s two-ply with 295 sheets per roll.
When I can’t get the Bim Bam Boo product, then this is my first alternative.
It contains organic bamboo and sugarcane, which are both fast-growing and sustainable.
It’s also two-ply and has 300 sheets per roll. The only significant difference is that it comes in plastic packaging, but this is recyclable plastic.
If you need something stronger than two-ply, then this option from WHOLEROLL should be top of your list.
The packs are a bit smaller, which might not suit larger households, but the quality is excellent and is from organic sources as well.
Hopefully, this post has convinced you that avoiding tree-based toilet paper should be a priority for your household to become more eco-friendly.
Now while I try to buy the sustainable hemp-based toilet paper whenever I can, it really can be difficult to find sometimes. However, the above bamboo toilet paper recommendations I gave above should offer you an excellent alternative, so you should definitely try them out.
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