Nobody wants a blocked septic system. The overflow and stench are horrendous and unhygienic. Septic tanks are sensitive to what they’re fed, including the type of toilet paper. Bamboo toilet paper is all the rage now because of its eco-friendliness. But is bamboo toilet paper septic safe?
Bamboo is a septic-safe toilet paper because it is biodegradable and an environmentally friendly product. Producers typically make it from a combination of bamboo pulp and sugar cane. It contains no chemicals or dyes that can destroy the necessary bacteria in septic systems.
As I try to do my bit to save the planet, I’m contemplating using bamboo toilet paper. But due to the septic system on the property, I’ve had to do some homework. How do septic systems work? Is bamboo a biodegradable toilet paper? Is it the best choice for the environment and my septic tank?
Can you use bamboo toilet paper with a septic system?
In the United States, a single individual uses approximately 141 toilet rolls annually. That’s a lot of virgin toilet paper for a septic tank, and it can take a massive toll on the environment depending on its sourcing, manufacturing, additives, and disposal.
Bamboo is a septic-safe toilet paper. Its made from bamboo, a natural fiber that breaks down quickly. In addition, it is usually free of dyes, fragrances, and chlorine.
What are the benefits of using bamboo toilet paper?
- It’s environmentally friendly.
- Bamboo is a sustainable resource.
- It grows quickly and does not require chemicals or pesticides to thrive.
- In addition, bamboo toilet paper is soft and strong.
Why is bamboo toilet paper more expensive?
Bamboo toilet paper is more expensive than some other types of toilet paper, mainly due to it being a more difficult crop to harvest than wood pulp-based toilet paper.
There is also the scale of production of traditional toilet paper vs bamboo paper. Regular toilet paper is produced in much larger quantities and therefore economies of scale kick in.
Bamboo toilet paper is an investment in your health and the environment. Plus, it is a product that you can feel good about using.
How well does bamboo toilet paper break down?
How Does A Septic Tank Work?
In the absence of centralized sewage systems, households use septic tanks to treat and get rid of wastewater. The septic system comprises the underground tank and a drain field.
The septic system retains the wastewater long enough to allow the solid matter to settle at the bottom of the tank while the oils and grease float to the top, creating scum.
The specially built outlet keeps the sludge from flowing out to the drain field with the liquid wastewater (called effluent).
Bacteria in the tank help break down the sludge and turn it into liquid. The effluent flows over porous surfaces and filters through the ground. It can then flow into the drain field, a covered, shallow hole dug in unsaturated soil. The soil removes harmful bacteria, viruses, and minerals.
In reality, all varieties of toilet paper will eventually break down in septic systems. Still, some will be less likely to clog the system or upset the balance of the necessary bacteria.
Bamboo toilet paper breaks down quickly. In fact, it is one of the quickest dissolving papers available. This means that it will help in keeping your septic system clog free.
Bamboo toilet paper ranks high on the suitability list of toilet papers for septic systems.
Is Bamboo Toilet Paper Biodegradable?
Biodegradable toilet papers like those made of bamboo break down in septic tanks. But it will disintegrate completely as time goes by. Therefore, it is very septic safe, putting less stress on the system.
Bamboo breaks down quickly when it comes into contact with septic tank bacteria. It is also a strong fiber, so manufacturers often make it in one, or two-ply varieties.
This allows the toilet paper to break up more quickly than three-ply plush paper because there are fewer layers that need to disintegrate.
Can Bamboo Toilet Paper Clog Up A Septic Tank?
Just as with other septic-safe toilet paper most toilet bamboo papers are safe to use in septic systems, all, including bamboo toilet paper, are equally capable of clogging it up.
The reason for this is simple…
Although bamboo toilet paper breaks up more quickly, it will have the same devastating effect as regular toilet paper when family members use too much of it after every visit. Children are often the culprits in this situation. It has more to do with the amount of toilet paper used than the type.
Is Bamboo Toilet Paper Chemical Free?
Harsh chemicals like chlorine, dyes, and fragrances find their way into traditional toilet paper, even recycled ones. The production of bamboo toilet paper doesn’t require any unnatural chemicals.
The manufacturers break down the bamboo into fibers. They soak these fibers and turn them into pulp. Then they press and dry them. The result is chemical-free toilet paper.
Septic tanks rely on anaerobic bacteria to break down the waste. Chemicals like chlorine can upset the balance in the septic tank and diminish its ability to digest the waste.
Are Bamboo Products Environmentally Friendly?
By choosing bamboo paper, you are helping to prevent the destruction of forests. However, As bamboo is mainly grown in the far east, the environmental impact of transporting it must be taken into account.
Bamboo is a type of grass, not a tree, and is the fastest-growing plant on Earth. Comparing the growth speed of bamboo to the trees used to make ordinary toilet paper, it is evident that the bamboo variety is a greener choice because of its sustainability.
Bamboo production uses almost no labor, much less water, and no pesticides and fertilizers.
No replanting is necessary once the bamboo is harvested because it grows naturally from the roots left in the soil.
It grows well in five of the world’s eight climate zones. It can easily grow in small clusters on the edges of farms while still producing a sizeable annual harvest.
Bamboo toilet paper produces 30% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than its wood-pulp counterpart.
Everyone knows that pandas are an endangered species and live on bamboo. But they only live in remote forest areas, far away from civilization. Thus harvesting masses of this fast-growing grass does not endanger these lovely animals. Pandas don’t eat the type of bamboo used for paper.
Is Bamboo Toilet Paper Antibacterial?
Bamboo does have natural antibacterial qualities. This is due to an antimicrobial agent called bamboo kun found naturally in the bamboo plant that helps keep the plant free from pests and diseases.
This antimicrobial agent is one of the many reasons bamboo is a more sustainable materials as no pesticides are required to grow it.
Bamboo kun is also anti-fungal and resistant to odor. These qualities make bamboo a great choice for toilet paper because it helps to keep your bathroom cleaner and fresher smelling.
What is the most sustainable toilet paper?
The two main types of sustainable toilet paper are those made from 100% recycled paper or made of bamboo.
Other factors that will influence the sustainability of toilet paper include how the recycled paper or bamboo is processed, and the manufacturing process as some processes use more energy and resources than others.
Some bamboo toilet papers are made from 100% bamboo, while others are a blend of bamboo and other materials. The most sustainable type of virgin toilet paper are those that are made from bamboo that is sustainably sourced and processed.
Choosing a toilet paper that is made through a sustainable manufacturing process will help reduce the environmental impact of using toilet paper.
Does Bamboo Toilet Paper Work Well?
Having tried all types of paper I can honestly say I find no difference in bamboo paper compared to more traditional toilet paper especially ones for septic tank systems. Some recycled papers I’ve tried can end up being either a little hard or not strong enough!
In general, I’ve found that bamboo paper has the following properties:-
- Firm and durable
- Similar softness and thickness to regular toilet paper.
- Compares well to other septic-safe toilet paper
- Is made from a more sustainable material
- Slightly rougher if used as a facial tissue
- More expensive
- Transport environmental impact may not be as good as traditional wood-pulp paper
Bamboo toilet paper is indeed safe a the septic system. It is biodegradable, is not made with chemicals that can upset the necessary bacteria to break down the sludge, and is environmentally friendly. Though it may be more expensive, it seems to be a worthwhile investment in our future.