This little change could make a big difference. 

By Katie Holdefehr
September 24, 2018
Grove Collaborative

Recently, it seems that everyone's been focused on small changes to our daily routines that can reduce waste and protect the environment. If you've already ditched plastic straws and replaced your plastic water bottle habit with a gorgeous reusable water bottle, you may be wondering what's the next step. It may be time to rethink your household paper products. One easy swap that could make a big difference in the long run? Switching out your toilet paper. 

According to a report by CNN, the average American uses 57 squares of toilet paper a day, adding up to 50 pounds of the stuff each year. That's a lot of trees! So when we spotted that Grove Collaborative launched a new collection of tree-free paper products, called Seedling, we had to give it a try. The company spent the past two years developing a line of toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, and napkins, all made from a blend of sugarcane and bamboo. Because bamboo is technically a grass (not a tree), the entire line is "tree-free," and because of bamboo's rapid growth, it can be harvested against just three months after it's trimmed. Grove Collaborative reports that bamboo pulp can hold up to three times its weight in water, so it's also highly absorbent.

Beyond just reducing deforestation, Grove is also committed to replanting trees. For every 100 rolls of toilet paper or 50 rolls of paper towels they sell, the company will plant one tree in collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation. Their goal is to plant 100,000 trees within the first year of Seedling's launch. 

The mission sounds amazing—but we still had one question: How's the toilet paper? Exactly how absorbent, durable, and soft is a blend of sugarcane and bamboo? To find the answers, a few Real Simple editors put the toilet paper to the test and shared their reviews below. As it turns out, different people like different kinds of TP. Some prefer the super-soft, cushiony variety, and others like a durable, tougher TP that holds up. If you fall into the latter camp, you're going to want to try this stuff. In the former group? Well, do it for the trees. 

Real Simple Editors' Reviews: 

My family didn’t notice the switch from Scott brand toilet paper to Seedlings. There was virtually no difference in softness or thickness and it seems septic safe for our 100+-year-old home, so we would order it again. —Leslie Yazel, editor-in-chief 

The second I opened up the packaging on the toilet paper, I knew this was going to be the firm and durable type of TP—I was in luck! I've never been a fan of the soft and linty variety, so I knew this was a match. After using it for a few days, it held up just as well as normal toilet paper and wasn't very different from what I was used to. The one difference is the price—at $1 per roll, it's slightly pricier than regular toilet paper—but just consider it an investment in the environment. —Katie Holdefehr, senior editor 

As I was taking the roll out of the packaging, I noticed right away that the texture is a little rougher than your standard roll. While it worked just fine, I think it was noticeably different to the touch, and my boyfriend noticed it, too. Also, I normally use toilet paper and Vaseline to wipe off my eye makeup at the end of the day, and I found myself reaching for regular tissue over the bamboo TP, since it didn’t feel gentle enough for the face. —Rachel Sylvester, lifestyle editor

My first thought was that it felt a bit thin ... Then again, it is saving trees, so that made me feel better. —Jerry Leu, video director