Product Review: Hybrid Toilet Paper

Photo: Trish Snyder
A mostly recycled toilet paper that saves trees — and it’s as soft as kittens

Item Tested: 12 double rolls of Cascades Enviro Ultra bathroom tissue ($7 to 9)

Company: Cascades

Available: At retailers such as Sobeys Quebec, Thrifty, Buy-Low Foods, Walmart Canada, Jean Coutu, Familiprix, Proxim.

The claim

Cascades has been making environmentally friendly paper products since 1964, so we weren’t surprised they were at the Green Living Show boasting that their recycled Enviro Ultra toilet paper, is as soft as cottony brands that are extremely hard on the planet. According to Greenpeace (check out their Guide to Ancient Forest Friendly Tissue), if every Canadian household swapped one roll of regular toilet paper cut from ancient forests for a roll of recycled, we’d save 47,962 trees per year. My family describes our current brand as “sandpaper” (I insist on 100 per cent post-consumer recycled — and yes, it’s a little rough). Could this new brand help wean the world off flushing ancient forests down the toilet?

What’s great

Recycled content
Each roll contains at least 60 per cent recycled fibres, which is 60 per cent more than national brands.

Huge rolls
Each double-size roll is considerably fluffier than our current brand (see photo). Available in 4 or 12 double-roll packs.

Smart packaging
You know the Nutrition Facts label on food? This has an Environmental Facts box announcing that the wrapper contains minimum 51 per cent recycled plastic. It’s #4 plastic, which is recyclable in some areas (but not mine).

Healthy manufacturing
The product is 100 per cent hypoallergenic, whitened without chlorine bleach and biodegradable, so it’s safe for septic and sewer systems. Manufacturing uses 80 per cent less water than the North American paper industry average.

Ultra soft
The product name is completely accurate — it’s plush and gentle against the skin, yet strong enough to, well, get the job done. The company claims its microquilting technology makes the difference in softness.

What’s not great

Would like to see this product more widely available outside Quebec. I live in Ontario, so I can only find these at Walmart: we live in the city and all their stores are in the suburbs. 

Light green
I applaud Cascades for reaching out to consumers who might up-green to this option because it’s so soft. But their Enviro Premium line is made from 100% recycled (mostly post-consumer), so it seems like a step back for a company who’s saved millions of trees and produces the official paper of Earth Day. 

The verdict

You can go greener for bathroom tissue, but not greener AND softer. I’ll stick with the 100% recycled stuff, but keep a few rolls on hand for guests: My late mom always complained about our so-called “cheap” toilet paper!