*This feature is not sponsored or paid for in any way by Who Gives A Crap or any other invested party
If you’ve ever thought about whether your buying decisions made a difference or not, toilet paper company Who Gives A Crap is here to remind you that it does, especially when you buy from them. A certified B Corp company that was founded out of a desire to lend a hand, Who Gives A Crap has made its business practices as much of a selling point as their product. And that’s not to say the product isn’t good - they can boast about the fact that their toilet paper is of great quality and eco-friendly, using materials like bamboo, sugarcane, and recycled paper instead of timber. In fact, their recycled paper variant has been recognised as the most environmentally-friendly toilet paper in the USA market by The Natural Resource Defense Council.
With their vibrant and cheeky marketing, Who Gives A Crap is probably a brand that a lot of eco-conscious people already know. However, we still reached out to a brand representative to get to know the brand a little bit more and share what we learned with you.
In July 2012, Simon Griffiths, Danny Alexander, and Jehan Ratnatunga started a crowdfunding campaign to launch Who Gives A Crap. They delivered their first product in March 2013 and have grown since then. They are registered in Australia under the entity Good Goods (ABN: 67 154 870 452 - Good Goods Pty Ltd t/a Who Gives A Crap).
INGREDIENTS & RAW MATERIALS
No trees are destroyed in the production of any Who Gives A Crap product. The main materials they use are bamboo, recycled paper, and sugarcane.
Premium Bamboo Toilet Paper - 100% bamboo; no inks, dyes, or scents
Recycled Toilet Paper - 100% recycled paper*; no inks, dyes, or scents
Forest Friendly Tissues - 100% bamboo; no inks, dyes, or scents
Forest Friendly Paper Towels - made with a blend of bamboo and sugarcane; no chlorine, inks, dyes, or scents
None of their products contain animal-derived ingredients, and they only test their products “on the finest human bottoms!” 🍑
INGREDIENT SOURCING & MANUFACTURING
All raw materials used by Who Gives A Crap are locally, sustainably, and responsibly sourced near their factories. They source their bamboo from remote areas of Sichuan Province, China. The bamboo is grown by local farmers who plant them on the borders of their small family farms to supplement their income. This way, no vast lands are cleared like what is done for industrial agriculture. The bamboo processing is also local. Each village has its own bamboo co-op who, after the bamboo is harvested, chips the bamboo before it goes to a local factory. “Sourcing bamboo this way means there are no adverse effects on natural forestry or wildlife.”
Bamboo is a more sustainable option for these kinds of products as it is the world’s fastest-growing plant, with some species growing up to a meter a day. Harvesting it also does not entail killing the entire plant. This means bamboo can be harvested year on year versus waiting for trees to grow for 20-30 years only to destroy them for something we flush down the toilet. If you’re curious about how they turn bamboo into toilet paper, they talk about that on their blog.
The production facilities for Who Gives A Crap are also in China and are visited several times a month for quality assurance and to make sure ethical and sustainability standards are being maintained. Their recycled paper producer has also been independently audited and certified under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI). The audit scored their producer the highest grade achievable across multiple categories.
PACKAGING & RECYCLING OPTIONS
All delivery cartons, tissue cubes, and inner cores for all Who Gives A Crap products are made of recycled materials.
Their individual toilet paper wrappers, however, are still made of virgin paper made of FSC certified raw materials. A representative from Who Gives A Crap tells us that this is because “it's been tricky to get the print quality high enough using recycled paper,” but they are working on this and should be switching to recycled wrappers in the near future.
All of their paper wrappers, tissue boxes, or delivery cartons have no film, wax, or coating that would interfere with recycling. They use a kaolinite based emulsion, which is suitable for recycling, for materials that look shiny or glossy. All of the packaging they use can be recycled.
Who Gives A Crap also strives to be plastic-free in every part of their business. They made the move to phase plastic out by 1 July 2019 and you can read about how they did that here.
They do not have a recycling program in place, however, any packaging waste that is generated from their products can be easily tossed into your regular recycling bin.
Who Gives A Crap was born when the founders learned that “2.5 billion people in the world don’t have access to a toilet (it’s 2 billion now – yay for progress!).” So, they donate 50% of their profits to charity partners who build toilets and improve sanitation in developing countries.
At the time of correspondence (September 2020), Who Gives A Crap has donated 8 million AUD to the following charity partners: WaterAid, Sanergy, Lwala Community Alliance, Shining Hope For Communities, iDE, and WaterSHED. They’ve provided information about these partners and how they choose them on their website.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSIVITY
Who Gives A Crap has unfortunately not done any internal surveys on employee identity yet so they could not provide any official data. However, they have published a blog discussing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Who Gives A Crap which gives us a peek into what the company looks like diversity-wise. They discuss in it that despite work to foster diversity in their global team including the leadership team, only one out of the 5 people in the executive team are non-white, and only one is female. Additionally, despite not having taken an internal survey, they “can guess that none of (their) employees would identify as Black or indigenous.”
They have admitted that this is unacceptable and have taken several measures for the short and long term to make sure this is addressed, such as making donations to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Greening Youth Foundation, and the Inneract Project while also beginning work with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultants. (As of 15 July 2020, they were at the interview stage. We will update this should they publish any updates.)
Who Gives A Crap is Social Traders certified, which recognises that they operate with “a primary social, cultural or environmental purpose.” We think that’s something we can all get behind as we all want to do our bit to help our planet and its inhabitants. And as consumers, an easy way to do our bit is to spend our money on brands that, not only tread lightly on the planet when they make their products but also use the money you spent to extend help where it’s needed. Despite the shortcomings the company has in its diversity (which they’ve committed to addressing), we encourage you to check out Who Gives A Crap so you too can help build toilets and improve sanitation in communities that need it just by changing how and where you buy your toilet paper.
Who Gives A Crap is available in Australia, USA, UK, Europe, and Sweden via their website.