Environmentally-Friendly Toilet Paper Is Just The Right Shade Of Brown

In an attempt to go green, Cascades tissue company is browning up their toilet paper with a 100% recycled, unbleached offering. They’re peddling the brown bath tissue to businesses now and hope to bring it to consumers’ bathrooms later this year. But yeah, brown toilet paper! Interesting.

CNBC.com says the paper is a mix of 80% post-consumer material, like your usual office paper and magazines, and 20% recovered corrugated boxes. That cardboard will lend the Moka paper its brownish hue to let people know it’s environmentally friendly. The usual gray hue of recycled products would look too dirty, you see.

While brown for a bathroom product might seem off-putting, Cascades is banking on the fact that we’ve been inundated with brown napkins and paper towels to the point where we won’t blink an eye at non-white toilet paper. Previous attempts to tint TP haven’t gone well, leading Cascades rivals to get all sassy about the brown move.

“I think in the back of the mind there is this issue of cleanliness, and white is considered to be a sign of a product that is clean,” said Lisa Morden, tissue product manager for Kimberly-Clark’s K-C Professional North America unit.

Cascades did a small survey, however, where they found that 82% of consumers would be willing to buy tissue tinged tan.

What it will all come down to is performance — if you can achieve a nice soft wipe that gets the job done, then who cares what color the paper is?

Are You Ready For Brown Toilet Paper? Cascades Thinks So [CNBC.com]


Edit Your Comment

  1. youbastid says:

    Brown toilet paper was the norm in many of the European countries I’ve been to. It’s not off-putting for the color, but it is off-putting because texture wise it’s only a slight upgrade from using pinecones.

  2. shthar says:

    As long as they stop making it narrower and narrower.

    • zippy says:

      Seriously, does anybody know of a one-ply inexpensive roll that hasn’t gotten narrower? Getting really tired of the amount of “play” on the rod with the Scott I usually buy.

  3. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    Just so long as the texture is right. I like my toilet paper to have just enough scratchiness to get the job done without chafing.

    • Platypi {Redacted} says:

      This post is going to see all kinds of TMI! Thank you for your very descriptive contribution!

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        My TMI standards are, apparently, different from those of other people. I figured this was tame, for me.

        … But then, I don’t have a problem making noisy stinky poops in public lavatories. Sometimes I wonder where I was hiding when the whole “how to be a girl” pamphlet was handed out. :D

    • sirwired says:

      Cottonelle 1-ply FTW

    • StatusfriedCrustomer says:

      It’s true! I hate frictionless toilet paper.

  4. gman863 says:

    Brown paper towels and napkins are usually found in cheap restrooms and low end fast food joints. Key flaws are they’re usually scratchier and less absorbant than higer-grade white ones.

    Unless this stuff is priced way less than 1000-sheet Scott or store brand generics, I suspect it will go over like a turd in a punchbowl.

    • Sloopydrew says:

      Why is everyone always hating on turds in punch bowls? I’ve found they make for a great conversation piece. Either form of “piece” is fine.

  5. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    “…if you can achieve a nice soft wipe that gets the job done, then who cares what color the paper is?”

    That’s true, but there’s gotta be some color contrast.

  6. kerry says:

    My mother was buying unbleached, recycled, brown toilet paper 20 years ago. If you wanted recycled toilet paper in the early 90’s, it only came in brown. This is not new.

  7. lettucefactory says:

    I seem to recall a lot of colored toilet paper floating around in the 80s. Especially pinks and blues. I guess we decided as a society that trying to match the paper with the decor was fairly pointless? Good for us.

    Nothing wrong with brown TP from an aesthetic standpoint (I mean, my brain is sharp enough to understand that it’s not brown because it’s pre-smeared with excrement. Most days.) But I personally associate brown paper products with the paper towels we have at our office, and they are utterly useless.

    • gman863 says:

      A sobering thought: If all the variations of asswipe (Basic, Soft, Ulta Soft, Quilted, etc.) came in colors, the toilet paper section would encompass half of a typical size supermarket.

      • webweazel says:

        Instead of colors, maybe they could print magazine articles on them. Logically, in a longer sitting session, you would read more “pages” and then could use them up without missing any portion of the article, and have the added bonus of a kind of bookmark!

        Sharing the paper with others in the house might be problematic, though, as you might miss whole important sections of story. Hmmmm, lemme work on this idea a little more.

        • The Salty Dalty says:

          Just have people buy a roll for every person in the house. That way kids could have comics or children’s books, and adults can have magazines.

  8. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    I thought colored bath tissue was illegal in the US. That’s why we no longer get pink or baby blue.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      ..because toxic ink had direct pipeline to your bowels.

    • Jawaka says:

      I believe that its dyes that are banned.

    • lettucefactory says:

      Is that why? Well, foolish of me to have assumed we just stopped making pink toilet paper because pink toilet paper was silly.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      Don’t worry, paper is naturally brown. It’s the bleaching that makes it white. Not bleaching it leaves it brown and reduces the demand for bleaching chemicals and reduces the residues produced by the process.

  9. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    And like other recycled paper products, it will only cost 40% more than regular toilet paper!

    • Slader says:

      The reason for this is because it actually costs more money to recycle paper than it costs to make virgin paper. The only item that is cheaper to make from recycled material than from virgin material is aluminum.

      • vastrightwing says:

        Then this is why this new product will FAIL! Combine brown associated with industrial paper products with the usual rough texture and then pay a premium because it’s “new” and “green”. Naw, this won’t work out so well.

      • sirwired says:

        Bzzzt! Steel is also very economical to recycle. Not as lucrative as Aluminum, but there’s a reason crushed car bodies are sent to a recycling plant instead of a landfill.

        Steel is even easy to recycle from the consumer waste stream because it’s so easy to separate from other recyclables; pass the waste under an electromagnet, and all the steel cans just pop up right off the conveyor.

      • sirwired says:

        Also… on the paper recycling economics:

        Recycling paper is a money-loser for waste management; there’s a HUGE amount of supply and not quite so much demand.

        But depending on the end product, it can be a net cost-saver for the companies that turn the recycled fiber into paper products. The process of turning recycle pulp into paperboard (i.e. cereal boxes) is quite economical. Turning recycle pulp into new copy paper? Not so much.

        Whether or not toilet paper made from recycled material is a cost-saver depends on what they are willing to accept in the way of strength, texture, and color compromises.

  10. Geekybiker says:

    If its already brown, how do you tell if you have a clean wipe?

  11. SavijMuhdrox says:

    thank goodness… cuz I still can’t figure out how to use the three seashells.

  12. whylime says:

    I hate brown napkins and paper towels. It has nothing to do with the color, but the texture and feel of the material. Brown napkins and paper towels are usually stiff, scratchy, and less absorbant, not to mention cheap feeling. If I saw brown toilet paper at the super market I’d probably pass, just because I would assume it would feel similar to its kitchen brethren. I can barely stand that feeling on my face and hands, much less my nether regions.

    • webweazel says:

      But the 150-grit would help to eventually get rid of those pesky butt-hairs! For some people, this might be a good thing!

  13. Sarahlara says:

    We’ve been using the recycled TP at Trader Joe’s for years. It took about, oh, one day to get used to it. I remember an article about recycled-content TP in the Washington Post not too long ago and, judging from the comments there, people are seriously freaking out about it. I have to say, I don’t get the rage-ahol. Trees are nice things to have around.

  14. El_Fez says:

    The brown eye
    it always demands two ply
    color meaningless

  15. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Considering what you’re going to do with said product, I can’t say I really care what color it is.

    I’m going to wipe my ass with it. Which is pretty well going to ruin whatever aesthetic you thought you were going for with that product.

  16. EccentricJeff says:

    I brown my own toilet paper at home!

  17. crispyduck13 says:

    I tried the whole recycled paper products thing and it did not work out. ‘ Marcel Smart Steps’ is the only brand of recycled toilet paper and paper towels available in my area. Both products are beyond terrible and expensive. They were also white.

    I’ll try the brown stuff as long as it doesn’t feel like I’m wiping my bum with used sandpaper.

    • mbz32190 says:

      Weird….Marcal is usually the cheapest around here, but maybe that is because of logistics (I live in PA..they are based in NJ, and have a strong partnership with one of the largest grocery chains that serve the area). Anyway, no problems…probably slightly better than Scott. Just wish the rolls weren’t so small.

      • crispyduck13 says:

        I’m in PA. When I say expensive I guess I’m basing it on what I could buy with the same amount they are charging for that stuff. I went from Charmin to Marcal, for about the same cost. For me the quality was so far below Charmin that it seemed like a waste of money. If you’re going from Scott’s 1000 sheet or something to Marcal then the quality and feel might be more comparable.

  18. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    As long as it feels good, I don’t care what color it is. It becomes brown either way.

  19. Rick Sphinx says:

    As long as it works, I don’t care what color it is, who would?
    If it’s cheaper, I’ll buy it. We usually buy Angel Soft double rolls or equivelent BJ’s Berkley and Jensen brand.

  20. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    At work, we have to suffer through the “green initiative”, meaning weird off white/tanish paper towels in the dispenser, plus off white scratchy toilet paper.

    So now, instead of one sheet of normal white paper towels, that really absorbed water and got your hands dry, we use 2-3 sheets of the crappy recycled towels. I swear the toilet paper is one step up from sand paper, and about as absorbent. We found a box of the old, normal toilet paper stashed away, but we can’t use it with the new dispensers. Why? The crappy recycled TP has cardboard rolls in the middle, and the old, nicer TP doesn’t. So we sat rolls on the backs of the toilets.

    I can’t see how this is better for the environment when you have to use more of a product to get the same results, and the “green” product costs as much or more.

  21. dush says:

    Pre-browned for your convenience.

  22. Pigfish99 the randomly insane says:

    I make brown toilet paper all the time, in the bathroom!

  23. theconversationalist says:

    21st Century and the US is still wiping? Japan’s had washlets for well over 20 years. Time to get with the program. We have them in our house and they’re great. The TP saving pay for it in 5-7 years, and the cleanliness is unparalleled.

    • kerry says:

      I tried a washlet in Korea and didn’t really like it. Also, it took forever to dry off my bum. I don’t really have that kind of time on my hands.
      Oh, and do you expect teh ladeez to washlet every time they use the toilet? That would take forever.

    • BorkBorkBork says:

      Bidets are popular in Argentina, where I lived for several years. Tried using them a few times, then got a scalded bumhole when one had a temperature problem. NEVER AGAIN!

  24. dourdan says:

    when i was stationed in Germany they had brown, enviomentally friendly toliet paper- it sucked. it was not soft, it was not obsorbent. it felt like copier paper.

    • SisterMaryPollyEsther says:

      In the U.K., the government-issued teepee was also brown. It had the consistency of wax paper, and every sheet had “government property” printed on it.

  25. The_IT_Crone says:

    I don’t see why brown would be bad- wood is brown. I find it more disturbing when it is stark white. I care more about how soft it is.

  26. Jemaine says:

    As long as its Charmin/Angel/Northern Quilted soft, go for it.

  27. Raj says:

    I heard a lot of discussion about this regarding, of all things, tampons and sanitary pads. Apparently there have been quite a few clinical studies regarding the dangers of using heavily bleached, scented, and dyed wood pulp in close proximity to a woman’s, um, sensitive bits. My question is, given the amount of bleaching necessary to produce wonderfully white toilet paper, is that healthy for our own sensitive bits? Am I just jumping on the bandwagon here?

  28. Sloopydrew says:

    First panda poo tea, next brown toilet paper … methinks someone at The Consumerist has a fetish.

  29. Duke of URL says:

    And their excuse for charging MORE for TP made from previously-used paper is?

  30. Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

    Not me… I like TP made from trees that are “just the right height”…