Production Process of Bamboo Toilet Paper

February 12, 2024
Productieproces van Bamboe toiletpapier
Published on  Updated on  

Bamboo is a solution for the emissions and environmental damage associated with paper production. Bamboi is forest-friendly, sustainable toilet paper that contributes to a better world. In this article, we tell you a little more about the paper production process of Bamboi and how our bamboo toilet paper is made exactly.

From bamboo to fiber to paper

The production process of bamboo toilet paper starts with the bamboo fibers. To obtain fibers from a tree or bamboo stem, the raw materials are first cut into chips. Then the chips are mixed in a tank in a mixture of water and caustic soda. The chips together with the mixture are boiled, after which the composition will separate. This creates a slurry. The slurry is then washed, filtered and refined and then passed through a paper machine. Every product with pulp production undergoes the process of mixing caustic soda and water together with the chips.

It is often thought that caustic soda is a toxic chemical. Caustic soda is sodium hydroxide (NaOH), and is made from sodium chloride, or table salt. So caustic soda is a natural ingredient that has gotten a bad reputation because of its high pH value. It is a caustic agent that must be handled safely, but it is environmentally friendly and 100% biodegradable.

Caustic soda is needed so that the lignin - the wood substance of the cellulose - is separated from the fibers. All chemicals used in this process remain in a closed loop. After the separation process, bamboo is only washed, filtered and refined with water. Our supplier has a water purification plant that purifies all the dirty water that is washed out of the bamboo. After all the dirty water has been purified, the water is so clean that even fish and other organisms can live in it. To prove this, there is a tank with fish at the end of the water purification plant that is fed with the production water.

After the mixing process, bamboo meets all hygiene requirements. This ensures that the bonds in the fibers do not damage, resulting in strong fibers and the natural softness of bamboo is retained. The result is that our bamboo toilet paper is also unbleached and strong and soft without added chemicals.

After the fibers have been separated from the lignin, they are filtered with a sieve. The size of the fibers depends on the holes in the sieve. The holes must be small enough to sieve out the lignin. This is where bamboo makes a difference. Bamboo comes out of the sieve much stronger because bamboo is more flexible than, for example, wood. This results in longer fibers than with wood and longer fibers make for stronger paper.

Bamboo production against deforestation and difference with wood fibers

One of the biggest advantages of bamboo products is that bamboo grows quickly. Bamboo can grow at a speed of up to 91 cm per day, making it the fastest growing plant in the world (Guinness World Records, 2022). Within two to three months, a bamboo shoot can grow 30 meters. For use as a raw material, bamboo can be harvested within a few years. In the case of bamboo toilet paper, that is three years. When harvesting, the roots remain intact and the bamboo grows back from the same shoot; bamboo is a self-fertilizing plant. By harvesting at three years of age, the bamboo forest makes room for other bamboo shoots to grow faster again. This means that without deforestation can be harvested annually if 33 percent of a three-year-old bamboo forest is cut down each year.

Image from van der Lugt, 2017

Three years is impressive compared to other tree species such as pines and oaks, which are also used for paper production. For example, pine trees need 30 years before they can be harvested and oaks even 80 years. In addition, the tree species that are typically used for paper production are responsible for water and soil loss. Bamboo, on the other hand, is a natural protector of water, soil and forests. Bamboo protects land use and can even grow on degraded land. Bamboo ensures that primary forests do not need to be deforested and that paper products can be produced without deforestation.

Growing a tree takes much longer than growing bamboo. Bamboo grows faster, requires less water and energy and uses no chemicals for bleaching, softening and washing the paper. Making wood fibers, on the other hand, takes a lot of energy, water and time. Bamboi is made from the bamboo species Neosincalamus Affinis, a non-invasive bamboo species.

Wood pulp factories are very large installations and are there to separate the lignin from the cellulose as well as possible. Only new raw materials can be used for this process. Wood fibers can be recycled up to eight times, but when the wood fibers are used to make toilet paper, of course, this does not happen. Every year in the Netherlands alone, at least 200 million kilograms of toilet paper made from wood fibers is flushed down the toilet, so it cannot be judged whether it could have been used more often.

In summary, it is logical that fibers derived from trees are used to make products that can be recycled, in order to get the most out of the fibers. Think of packaging or cardboard cups, for example. For toilet paper, a rapidly renewable raw material, such as bamboo, is better suited. In general, the sturdier the material, the longer the fiber must be so that the product does not break and tear as quickly.

Bamboi toilet paper versus recycled toilet paper

The production process of bamboo paper differs from recycled paper. These differences are mainly in the CO2 emissions and storage, water consumption and the use of chemicals or not. These points are briefly and concisely highlighted below.

CO2 emissions

The emissions of bamboo are minimal, because little energy is needed. Because no extra chemicals are used in the production of unbleached bamboo paper, quite a few steps are skipped. This makes the production process of bamboo paper faster and more efficient compared to the production of recycled paper. The CO2 emissions of Bamboi are 1.0835 kg CO2e per kg of bamboo paper compared to 1.11 kg CO2e per kg of recycled paper.

CO2 storage

Too much CO2 in the air changes the climate. Climate change is happening fast, and that's why the storage of CO2 is being encouraged and bamboo can play an important role in this. Recycled paper stores little to no CO2. Bamboo, on the other hand, does: a bamboo forest stores about 48 tons of CO2 per ha per year. Of these 48 tons, 50% is stored in the ground and 50% in the stems. The paper is made from the stems and the stored CO2 from this remains in the paper until it decays in, for example, the sewer, as compost or on a garbage heap. We have not included these. The CO2 storage of a kg of bamboo paper is -4.08 kg CO2e compared to 0 kg CO2e for a kg of recycled toilet paper.

Water consumption

The exact water consumption of recycled paper is not known, but it is said that one can assume about 0.5 liters per roll. With paper production without recycled water, that is 15 liters. This is 30 times as much. These processes are not transparent enough to make a judgment about. With bamboo, on the other hand, 35 liters of water are used for 1 kg of bamboo paper and 96.5% of this is recycled. In the end, 1 kg of paper therefore consumes 1.225 liters of water. With the Bamboi MAXI roll, this is 0.224 liters of water per roll compared to the 0.5 liters of water per roll for recycled paper.


An organic product is biodegradable. This means that it can decay in nature without damaging it with chemicals. Recycled paper uses chemicals to remove the ink and make the paper white again. 'Softeners' are also used to make the paper soft and a starch mixture to make paper stronger. Bamboo toilet paper, on the other hand, is 100% biodegradable and contains no softeners or starch mixtures with added chemicals.

In short, Bamboi is the paper of the future. Our paper is tree-free, chemical-free, hypoallergenic and CO2 negative. Together with the users and our partners, we make a positive impact on the environment with the simple switch to bamboo toilet paper. By delivering high quality and sustainably produced toilet paper, companies and organizations no longer have to contribute to unnecessary deforestation and water use, CO2 emissions and the use of chemical substances. Order our bamboo toilet paper here. Join the Bamboi revolution!

Published on  Updated on