Toilet paper not vegan?
OK. You might want to sit down for this one.
A reader contacted me yesterday and asked if I knew that not all toilet paper is vegan.
As vegans, we try to reduce our participation in animal cruelty by removing all animal-derived products as much as possible.
No meat? Check. Get rid of dairy? Easy. Make sure I don’t use shampoo that has been tested on animals? Way ahead of you on that one in my non-leather shoes!
But toilet paper? Honestly, toilet paper!
It is tough to know where animal by-products are being used and we do our best, but I would never have guessed that toilet paper can be manufactured with ingredients such as gelatine.
This explanatory email from Velvet sheds some light on the issue:
Strictly speaking, Tissue products (toilet paper, hankies, facials, kitchen towel) cannot fulfil the strict requirements for vegan/vegetarian products. Our products consist of more than 95% of cellulose and 5% residual moisture. The paper making process requires the addition of process aids and chemicals, to ensure the required functionality of the tissue products. All added tissue ingredients/ process aids have to be approved for safe use according the relevant chemical legislation in Europe. For approval toxicity tests are required. Secondly, we cannot exclude, that some tissue additives/process aids might be based on animal derived chemistry (e.g. Gelatin, fatty acids, etc.).
Yep, the paper you use to wipe your private parts could possibly have been made using gelatine and fatty acids… and kitchen towel and facial tissues as well!
A further response from Tesco is a bit of good news, however:
I can happily confirm that none of Tesco own brand toilet paper is made with any animal derived products.
None of us want to buy anything derived from animal products, so let’s keep each other informed on this topic.
Please post your information and company responses in the comments below. Let’s work together to make sure our loo roll is as compassionate as possible. Reach out to your favourite toilet paper, tissue and kitchen towel company and then share their responses here.