Update on "Who Gives a Crap"

Who Gives A Crap loo rolls
A few weeks ago, I said that I'd bought some recycled paper loo rolls from the company Who Gives A Crap, but that I hadn't yet tried them. Well, now we have tried them, and I've bought some tissues and kitchen roll from them too, so it's time for an update.

We went for the bog-standard (pun intended) loo rolls made of recycled paper. There is a luxury option made with bamboo which is probably softer. I had had reservations about the use of bamboo, knowing that processing it to make fibres for clothes isn't great, ecologically, but after a long discussion with them via email, it would seem that processing the plant to make 'paper' is far less environmentally damaging and that there is little waste or chemical use. We may go for the luxury version in the future, but to be honest, the standard paper version is fine.

Each roll comes wrapped in paper to protect it, which has lower waste impact than if the rolls were bundled together, as the paper used for wrapping can be thinner than if multiple rolls were wrapped together. The paper is quite pretty (and they currently have a version that you can colour in yourself if you want) and I will probably use it to decorate plain notebooks or do origami or something. Or just recycle it. They look fairly pretty stacked on the cistern, anyway!

The loo paper itself is made of three very thin layers, but the fact there are three of them makes it strong. There are 400 sheets per roll, so each roll does last longer than a normal roll. I did the maths on it all and the price per square metre was pretty much the same as the loo rolls we had been buying from the supermarket, but they were wrapped in plastic and those companies didn't donate half their profits to charities supporting water sanitation.

What's it like to use?

In fairness, there are softer papers out there, but this is absolutely fine. I want to buy things that are ecologically and ethically good too and although this paper may be less soft than some deluxe brands, it more than compensates in the ecology and ethics departments. No virgin wood is used in the paper, so the trees remain to soak up CO2 and produce oxygen, and the company is doing great work helping to ensure that everyone, wherever they are, has access to a toilet and clean water. For me, that's important.

So, spurred on by this, and after the discussions over how the bamboo is processed, I went on to buy some kitchen rolls and tissues from them. Sadly, this is where some disappointments have crept in.

Box of tissue packs

The tissues were packed in one box (again, sealed with a plastic tape, which I would rather they didn't use); the kitchen roll was packed in another box (also sealed using plastic tape). Very disappointingly, given that I was buying these to reduce plastic waste, as much as to protect forests, these two boxes were then bound together for delivery using four plastic straps. I have no idea if these are recyclable. I've put them in the recycling bin but I fear that they will end up in landfill or burned. 😟

Kitchen rolls
The kitchen rolls are wrapped in the same paper that is used to wrap the loo rolls (except a bit larger). The 'paper' in the towels is made from bamboo and sugar cane. The company claims they are "Absorbent. Really, really absorbent" and "Strong enough to clean the nastiest of spills". To me they are about the same as other paper towels I get from the supermarket (I usually buy cheap!) but with the bonus that they are made from bamboo and sugar-cane rather than new wood pulp, and not wrapped in plastic. Each roll has 120 sheets of 2-ply paper. At £14 for 6 rolls, they aren't cheap, but I guess I have the luxury of being able to afford them. I don't know if they are good value, when you can get a big roll at the supermarket for £1. Am I happy enough to pay more to protect the environment, reduce my single-use plastic consumption and give to charity? Yes, but I do recognise that many will not.

The next huge disappointment came when I opened the box of tissues. The tissues themselves are great - soft and strong and definitely comparable to nice tissues from the supermarket. But when I peeled off the perforated bit to access the tissues, I found a piece of single-use plastic in the top of the box.

Why?????? This is just not needed! The tissues we had been buying from Tescos used to have this plastic insert and then recently they stopped (as it isn't needed). But, the Tesco tissues were made of new wood pulp which was why I was looking to swap. There is absolutely NO indication that there is any plastic in them when you read the listing at WGAC. Although the tissues themselves are fine, I don't think I will buy them again unless they stop putting this stupid plastic film in them. If they would just lose that, they would be great tissues and I would switch to them in a heartbeat, but when some of my reasons for switching is to reduce plastic consumption, I don't want to promote brands who continue to use it unnecessarily, even if the rest of their credentials are great.

But, for those who want the details, each tissue is 3-ply and made of bamboo. Each box has 65 tissues  and the tissues are 19.5cm x 21.5cm each. It's £14 for 12 boxes.

1. Loo roll
  • Comparable price
  • Soft enough
  • Double-length rolls so long lasting
  • Great company ethos with the donations to charity
  • No virgin wood is used in their production - rolls are made of recycled paper (or bamboo)
  • No plastic in the product
  • There are softer loo rolls out there so if you have a very sensitive bum, you may not like these
  • Box comes sealed with plastic tape

2. Kitchen rolls
  • Strong, absorbent
  • Made without using virgin trees (use bamboo and sugar cane)
  • Great company ethos with the donations to charity
  • No plastic in the product
  • Not as comparable on price as the loo rolls - these are more expensive than cheap kitchen rolls from the supermarket
  • Box comes sealed with plastic tape and if you buy more than one box, they are bound together with more plastic

3. Tissues
  • Soft, absorbent
  • Made without using virgin trees (use bamboo)
  • Great company ethos with the donations to charity
  • Attractive boxes
  • Plastic in the product
  • Box comes sealed with plastic tape and if you buy more than one box, they are bound together with more plastic

In summary - I would buy the loo rolls and the kitchen rolls again. I'm hesitant to buy the tissues unless they stop using plastic in them. I would also like to see them move to a paper-based tape to seal the boxes. I have raised both issues with them and will report back!

If you would like to try their products and get £5 off then use this link:

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