Last week we gave you the rundown on the best, softest toilet papers in the world in 2021. Big up for our very own Boreally Plush for taking the #1 spot!
Today we’re taking a deep dive into the most important resource here at Flush— the world’s old-growth trees and why virgin trees make the softest toilet paper. Americans have had a love affair with cushy soft toilet paper for over 150 years, and it started with virgin trees.
These ancient beauties make for the best, most flushable toilet tissue the world has ever seen.
Let’s find out why.
Old-Growth Trees Make the Best, Softest Yet Durable Toilet Paper
Nerd alert— we’re about to get all science-y on you. But in the interest of Flushparency, we think it’s important you know exactly what’s making contact with your bum on the daily. So here we go.
Toilet paper starts its life as a tree (duh). But not just any tree. Flush uses 100% luscious softwood to get that ultra-smooth, yet sturdy feel. Softwood trees are evergreen and include pines, firs, and spruces.
You may wonder why we don’t use recycled pulp. Good question. The short, processed fibers of recycled pulp just don’t make for a toilet paper worth wiping your behind with. The finished result is rough, scratchy, and likely to fall apart in your hands. Ew.
The long fibers from virgin trees are key to a soft, velvety texture that feels gentle on your skin. Softwoods give toilet paper the strength needed to hold up without dissolving in your hands.
And those long fibers in softwood trees are also easier to flatten out and puff up in the manufacturing process, which helps provide the fluffy soft feeling that Americans love. These properties all depend on the cell wall structure in the wood itself. And it takes time to develop that cell wall structure. This is why we search the world for the oldest trees in the forests. We don’t accept anything less than 150 years old, because as we now know, virgin trees make the softest toilet paper.
So, to summarize:
- We search the world for the finest softwood old-growth trees to bring you the best toilet paper.
- Softwood trees are the most ancient in the world’s forests and include evergreens like spruce, fir, and pine.
- Their long fibers provide both strength and softness in the finished tissue product.
Where Do We Source Our Trees? The Finest Toilet Paper Comes From the World’s Finest Forests
We don’t take our sourcing lightly here at Flush. Our goal is to inspire you to choose the best toilet paper that suits your unique tastes. So we’ve chosen four lush forests to bring you the best choice in toilet paper on the market today.
Let’s take a tour.
Canada’s Boreal: The Amazon of the North
The Boreal is a vast swath of jewel green forest encircling the southern tip of the Arctic Circle, from Canada to Scandinavia to Russia. Occupying about 17% of the world’s land surface, it’s the largest biome (major life zone) in the world. Reindeer, lynx, migratory birds, mosses, lichens, orchids, and other cold-hardy plants and animals call the Boreal home.
And we can’t forget— the best old-growth hardwoods you’ve ever seen. Perfect for making ultra-soft, ultra-flushable TP.
Americans adore silky soft toilet paper, which is why we’re cutting down huge swaths of Boreal every day. We work directly with the Canadian government to source only the best trees for flushing down the toilet.
To nail down the perfect blend for our Boreally Plush toilet paper, we put a variety of species through rigorous lab and consumer testing. In the end, we found the perfect tree. What tree made the cut (pun intended) for our softest offering? Single-origin Scotch pine FTW!
The Scotch pines have thin cell walls that provide greater softness to the finished product. We considered black spruce as the thicker cell wall structure provides more water absorbency but in the end, Scotch pine won out.
Mt Hood National Forest: Portland’s Playground, Brought to Your Toilet
We kept it real local when we developed our most sturdy offering.
Located about 60 miles east of Portland, Oregon, Mt. Hood is a small forest in comparison to the rest of the list. The forest is part of the Cascades, a volcanic zone in the Pacific Northwest that spans from British Columbia, through Washington and Oregon, and ends in Northern California.
Volcanoes dot the skyline here, and ash from prior eruptions enrich the soil, enhancing the conditions needed for old-growth forests to thrive.
Known as Portland’s playground, the forest can be distinctly divided into east and west zones. The west side is known for abundant rainfall, while the east side borders the deserts of eastern Oregon. The climate on this eastern edge of the forest is brutal. We’re talking lumberjacks only to survive the frigid winter snow and wind, and the endless hot days of summer. It’s on the east side where we source our ponderosa pine that makes the toughest damn toilet paper you’ve ever had the pleasure of wiping your bum with.
Go Southern With Talladega National Forest
Talk about old. The Talladega forms the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountains, a chain formed 450 million years ago. Alabama’s crowning jewel, this forest is a wildlife haven.
Streams gently flow, filled to the brim with redeye bass, while the trees provide shelter for white-tail deer, grouse, bobcats, and even the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker.
Those sweet southern pines are the very ones we source to bring you Tide Roll. As Alabama as sweet potato pie, you’ll practically hear the woodpeckers calling as you unwrap a Tide Roll.
Priced to Sell: The Amazon Rainforest
The forest that needs no introduction— the lungs of the planet and home to 10% of the world’s biodiversity. Spanning an area twice the size of India, the Amazon is so vast that experts reckon we haven’t even cataloged all of the plant and animal species contained in it.
We couldn’t believe how economical the timber offerings were from the Brazillian government. We knew business was booming in the Amazon and were thrilled to find eucalyptus at bargain-basement prices. And we were happy to pass these savings onto you. Enjoy the jungle experience with our Amazohhhn toilet paper.
Some of you might be asking— um, if these trees take 50 years to reach maturity, and the oldest are over 150 years old, should we be flushing them down the toilet? Are there enough trees to continue cutting down 27,000 a year for toilet paper? What’s that doing to the environment? And how are the reindeer handling this? Are there any tree-free toilet paper options?
Huh. These are good questions. We have heard that some toilet paper brands use bamboo. It’s the world’s fastest-growing plant and self-regenerates after you cut it. Whaaaaaa? Can bamboo replace our beloved forests as the best source for the softest toilet paper? Can you imagine toilet paper made without trees? Let’s take a look.
Bamboo Toilet Paper: A Sustainable, Tree-Free Alternative?
Again with that dang Flushparency, we have to admit that clearcutting the equivalent of 14 city parks a minute isn’t exactly sustainable. And forests store 45% of the world’s carbon dioxide. We’ve also heard that using virgin pulp generates three times as much carbon emissions as alternative options, like bamboo.
And those reindeer? Only 50% of their natural habitat remains.
So bamboo might be a good alternative. Did you know that it’s a grass? Unlike trees, it only takes 3 years to reach harvest maturity. It is a little annoying to have to wait 150 years for Scotch pines to be ready for harvesting. That is if they ever get there. Since we clearcut huge swaths of forest, the pines struggle to grow without the right biodiversity and soil characteristics.
Not so with bamboo. Chopping it down actually encourages new growth. And it’s super hardy and disease-resistant, so no pesticides are needed. It’s pretty annoying that the Boreal is so fussy— upset the delicate ecosystem and it takes years to recover.
But how does bamboo toilet paper stack up against our favorite cushy-soft Boreally Plush? Well, bamboo is known for its durability, so we know we can trust it to not fall apart in your hands. But is it soft? Actually, using the same process as traditional toilet paper, a 3-ply bamboo tissue can rival any virgin tree blend for softness. The long fibers of bamboo fluff up just as well as hardwood.
So, what do you think, loyal Flushies? Can we end our 150-year love affair with old-growth toilet paper? Should we make the eco-friendly switch to bamboo? Let us know in the comments!