We love thinking a little bit left of centre and recently, we've had a bit more time on our (very sanitised) hands. So we've been chatting to some talented mates who are known for thinking differently than most and in turn, have been paved the way in their industries.
If you're not already familiar with the brand Who Gives a Crap, they're your bums best mate and Mother Nature's, too. They make 100% recycled toilet paper and thanks to the recent global toilet paper crisis, they've been wiped of all stock (with no shortage of toilet paper puns).
Who Gives a Crap are much more than just an eco toilet paper company. They've donated 50% of all their profits (a massive $2.6 million) to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world, whilst saving a shitload (we did warn you!) of trees, water and energy in the process.
They've given the gift of dunnies to tens of thousands of people, and they're not stopping anytime soon.
Who Gives a Crap was created after you learned that 40% of the global population doesn't have access to a toilet. Talk us through how Who Gives a Crap was born, and the crowd-funding campaign that first brought it to life.
Who Gives A Crap was founded in Melbourne by Simon Griffiths, Danny Alexander and Jehan Ratnatunga after they learned that 2.5 billion people in the world don’t have access to a toilet (it’s 2.3 billion now – yay for progress!).
Our trio launched the company in 2012 with a crowdfunding campaign (see the video here!) that streamed Simon sitting on a toilet in our draughty warehouse until we had raised enough pre-orders to start production. Fifty hours and a sore bum later, we'd raised over $50,000. We delivered our first product in March 2013 and we’ve been on a roll ever since. Get it? Roll? Hehe.
How does your service work, and what do you offer in comparison to TP purchased from Coles and Woolies supermarkets?
It’s a bit tricky to directly compare our products with other brands but we do believe we’re one of the best social good products to support. In a nutshell - we're not your average toilet paper.
We make eco-friendly toilet paper, tissues and paper towels. Unlike most paper products, ours are made without trees. Additionally, we donate 50% of profits to charity partners so they can continue doing the amazing and vital work of building toilets and improving sanitation in developing countries. Not having a toilet means more than you might think. Poor sanitation causes serious illness, and if people get sick, they can’t work to feed their families or go to school. Not having access to sanitation isn’t just unpleasant, it’s devastating.
We sell almost entirely online, directly to our customers and deliver thousands of boxes every week around Australia, the United States and the UK. We offer a subscription service so our customers never have to worry about running out of toilet paper again. We deliver our products directly to their homes, sometimes at less than half the price of some of the big retail brands. We do all this while still making a product that does good with every wipe.
Last but not least, we’re a profit-for-purpose business. That means we’re driven by our mission to make sure everyone in the world has access to a toilet and use our profits to make sure that happens.
How do you think you have impacted or changed the industry since introducing a brand of recycled toilet paper to the market?
We didn't want to be cutting down trees and sacrificing our forests just to blow our noses, clean a spill or wipe our bums. We hope that the simple choice of switching to our toilet paper empowers people to make more positive choices for the environment. We're recycling what's already in circulation, rather than cutting down virgin trees and converting them into tissue paper just to be used once and flushed away. By doing this we're reducing our CO2 and particulate matter emissions, as well as saving water. It's pretty great!
Talk us through the process behind recycling toilet paper. What exactly is it made from?
We recycle post-consumer waste paper and a small amount of post-industrial paper, like textbooks, office paper, paper offcuts, notepads, etc, to make our recycled toilet paper, which we source from schools and businesses local to our factory. This has big environmental benefits, with the absolute lowest footprint as it's a lower energy conversion process. There is no step to convert bamboo (or wood!) into pulp first which means less work to transform fibres.
How does toilet paper production from other companies affect our environment, and most importantly our beautiful trees?
Most toilet paper is made from cutting down virgin trees which means 27,000 trees are cut down daily to make regular toilet paper. That's over 75,000 sq kilometres of forests lost annually, which is the equivalent of 27 soccer fields every minute and we think that's crap!
We're currently in a global pandemic, with toilet paper literally flying off the shelves in supermarkets around the world. How has this pandemic affected your business?
We've seen our sales skyrocket in a very short period of time which left us with a problem that we now have to solve - how do we bring our low supply of stock back online so people don't end up panic buying again? At the same time, it also meant more donations to our charity partners, which tantamounts to more toilets and proper sanitation for those who need them most.
Do you have any advice for those who may be panic buying toilet paper?
We understand uncertainty is scary but kindness isn't - kindness is a beautiful thing. Let's all share that magic around.
Check 'em out and all the great work they've done HERE.