Pretty, Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper Exists, and Your Powder Room Needs It Now

Because 2020 is really on a roll.

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Go No 2 Toilet paper
Photo: Amazon

This past Christmas, my roommate gifted her mother a giant toilet paper roll, complete with metal stand. She says the gift was given in jest, but after spending the better part of my 2020 stalking Publix and Piggly Wiggly for toilet paper, I'm starting to think my roommate knew something then that the rest of us didn't. This holiday season, I'm following her lead—though I'll be opting to gift No.2's pattern-wrapped rolls to my No. 1 people instead.

No.2 is a direct-to-consumer company that peddles 100%-bamboo toilet paper, and I hadn't heard of it until last month, when their team reached out to me and offered to send a box my way. I'll admit that under normal circumstances, an offer of free toilet paper might not have inspired much enthusiasm on my part, but after surviving the great TP shortage of 2020, I am singing a very different tune. 2020, your wonders never cease!

While the triple-ply sheets themselves are white, each roll is wrapped in colorful, recycled-paper packaging that comes in a number of prints. There's a "Blossom in Disguise" set for the flower lovers; "Bolt from Color" for the crowd that prefers graphic black-and-white prints; and for the indecisive, there's the "Right as Random" package, which comes with 8 different wrappers, ranging from moody, muted florals to zippy pink-and-chartreuse cheetah print (BUY IT: $39; Basically, it's toilet paper that's cute enough to display in a basket in your powder room, rather than hiding it away under the sink.

While the rolls look a littler smaller than the double Charmin rolls I'm accustomed to, the price is fair: $34 for a carton of 24 rolls (240 sheets/roll) or $46 for 48 rolls. (There's also an 8-roll carton that retails for $17.50, and I'm no math whiz, but from where I'm standing, that doesn't seem to be as good of a deal.) I'll also note that while the No.2 paper isn't quite as soft to the touch as my go-to Charmin Ultra Soft, it's a far cry from the scratchy, budget-buy single-ply tissue that seems to plague rest area and workplace bathrooms.

In one of the toilet paper's more than 630 5-star reviews on the No.2 website, Anna S. says, "Second time purchase, we're lifers now. Originally bought No.2 during the great toilet paper shortage of 2020. And now that we've tried it, we're never going back!"

Pandemic aside, there's another really compelling reason to make the switch to bamboo TP: it's way more environmentally friendly. On average, Americans go through about three rolls of toilet paper a week, making us responsible for 20 percent of the world's toilet paper use. Basically, no matter how environmentally friendly we try to be in other areas of our life (reduce! reuse! recycle!), most of us are killing a lot of trees to indulge our double-ply habit without giving it much thought. Bamboo, however, can be grown much more sustainably. A switch to No.2 is a victory for your powder room and boreal forests. Win-win.

I've been brand loyal to Charmin for many years, and I'm not totally sold on abandoning it for No.2 just yet (old habits die hard!). But when it comes to Christmas shopping this year, a carton of No.2 toilet paper is number one for everyone on my list.

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