Who Gives a Crap Is on a Roll, Saving the Environment in Many Colorful Ways


I'm about to talk about toilet paper. It might seem like an odd topic for Pride season, but we'll get there.

I like what I like in toilet paper, even though I couldn't tell you a specific brand name. I buy the package with the cute anthropomorphic bears because I feel clever that I'm in on the inside joke about why a toilet paper company would choose bears as a mascot. It's a mindless purchase made by muscle memory, driven only by the fact that there is a splash of red on the wrapper. But in my haste I'm actually destroying the planet every time I flush. I don't want to do that to my brothers and sisters.

In my line of work I get to try a lot of products, and recently I was introduced to Who Gives a Crap, a brand of paper products that range from toilet paper to facial tissue to paper towels. Again, these types of household staples are bought out of necessity; I'm not thinking about the environment or saving the world. Who Gives a Crap schooled me on why I should, and the irony in their brand name wasn't lost on me.

The company started in 2012, when cofounders Simon Griffiths, Danny Alexander, and Jehan Ratnatunga learned that not everyone in the world has access to a working toilet – about 40% according to them. They built the company with the goal to donate 50% of their profits to get toilets into countries that don't have them.

They also wanted their product to help Mother Earth by making it with recycled paper and bamboo. Bamboo is a better pulp alternative, because it doesn't contribute to deforesting.

That strategy has worked, because Who Gives a Crap has already saved 8.3 million meters of forest (based on what would be needed for traditional products).

On the financial end, they have donated $11.2 million AUD to nonprofits around the world, giving people a sanitary place to do their business. It's not something the average person thinks about, but it's nice to know it's happening. It's an icky subject to discuss, but diarrhea can kill people who don't have proper water or hygienic conditions.

My mindless toilet paper aisle purchases are turning into informed choices, and that is something I never thought would happen. I usually get updates from my kids about how to save the world, and they don't mince words. My husband didn't even know about how our use of toilet paper had a butterfly effect. Bringing up changing our toilet paper to an eco-friendly brand was met with, "We can't afford that."

I had to think for a second, because maybe we couldn't. I researched Who Gives a Crap and what it would cost to do the transition, and it wasn't bad. The bamboo rolls contain approximately 370 sheets and cost about $1.41 each if you get the 48-roll bundle. That's a competitive price, especially if you know that you're helping out the planet. It is less expensive if you go with the recycled option.

Here is how Who Gives a Crap ties into Pride season. Pride is a time of the year when the LGBTQ+ community celebrates with color and expression. First, Who Gives a Crap has an intentionally inclusive hiring policy. In some states, companies can still legally discriminate against members of the community, but Who Gives a Crap doesn't do that. Their allyship is ongoing and active.

That brings us to the colorful part of Pride. When I unboxed their product, I was instantly in a better mood. They seem to utilize what is referred to in the home design business, as Dopamine Décor. It is brilliant and colorful packaging that is the epitome of what Pride is about. Everything is individually wrapped in evocative and vibrantly designed compostable paper to ensure the roll doesn't get wet or contaminated.

I didn't know anything about toilet paper before I started using Who Gives a Crap. Before that, I wasn't aware of the impact I was making on the planet just by using a big-box retail brand. Not only does it make me happy that now I have knowledge, but, darn it, seeing those brilliant and fun designs in our bathroom makes me even happier.

Despite their play on words, Who Gives a Crap cares about the environment, the planet, and society. Visit their website for more information, and get a discount on your first order.

by Timothy Rawles

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