Many people have wondered where toilet paper is made. We made our search and found the answers many are looking for. So we thought to share them with you in this comprehensive post.
Where is toilet paper made? China produces the most toilet papers in the world followed by the USA, and then Japan. However, most of the toilet papers sold and used in the US (more than 90%) are produced in the US. The remaining are imported from other countries. Most of these imported toilet papers come from Canada, China, and Mexico.
Many Americans worry about how certain restrictions can limit the supplies of some products, including toilet papers. People from other countries are also buying toilet papers in panic so that they won’t run out of supply. As you read on, we will talk about the top producers of toilet papers in the world and why Americans need not worry about limited supplies.
What Country is Toilet Paper Made In?
Several countries, including China, America, Japan, Germany, Korea, and Canada, among many others, make toilet paper. But most toilet papers in the world are made in China. America is the second-largest toilet paper producing country in the world and Japan is the third-largest.
China is both the largest producer and largest exporter of toilet papers in the world. But while America is the second-largest producer of toilet rolls, it ranks 8th among the countries exporting toilet rolls. Japan is the third-largest producing country, but it is not among the top 60 countries exporting toilet rolls in the world.
Below are the top 3 countries producing toilet papers in the world:
As of 2004, America was producing more toilet papers than China, but by 2015, China’s paper industry already had more than twice its 2014 production capacity. Thus China became the largest producer of paper worldwide, producing about 9 million metric tons of sanitary papers yearly.
As of 2015 when China became the largest producer of toilet papers, Germany was still the largest toilet paper exporting country in the world. China was the number two paper exporter at that time. But now, China has taken the top spot as the largest exporter of toilet papers while Germany is number two.
America’s paper production began in 1730 long before the Declaration of Independence. To date, America is the largest consumer of paper products in the world. But it does fairly well in production and export too, ranking second only to China in production and 8th in toilet paper exportation.
While China’s paper industry thrives on virgin pulp, America’s paper industry mostly uses recovered fiber. More than two-thirds of the papers consumed in America come from reclaimed or recycled paper, which is safe for the environment.
The traditional papermakers of Japan are their national treasures because they make several million metric tons of beautiful and artistic papers. But they make lots of toilet paper too. However, most of the toilet paper produced in Japan is consumed in Japan. Japan is not among the top 60 toilet paper exporting countries in the world.
✅ Video – Top 20 Countries by Toilet Paper Export
This is an infographic video on the top 20 countries that export toilet papers. The infographic chart covers the time period from 2012 to 2018. You will see when and how China overtook Germany and how a few other countries overtook the US in toilet paper export. It’s a fun and educative video to watch.
Where Does America’s Toilet Papers Come From?
More than 90 percent of America’s toilet papers come from domestic manufacturers. This means that most of the toilet papers used in America come from manufacturing companies in America. Only about 10 percent of the toilet paper consumed in America is imported from other countries. Most of these imported toilet papers come from Canada, China, and Mexico.
America imports only about 10 percent of its toilet paper consumption. And at the same time, it is the 8th largest exporter of toilet paper in the world. However, the country is still the largest importer of toilet papers despite its low import shares.
In 2018 alone, America imported:
- 87K tonnes of toilet papers, worth $182M, from Canada
- 55K tonnes of toilet papers, worth $86M, from China
- 53K tonnes of toilet papers, worth $78M, from Mexico
The toilet paper importation from these 3 countries made up 93 percent of the total toilet paper imports for that year. They also comprised about 7% of the total toilet papers consumed in the U.S for that year. 92.5% of the consumed toilet papers in 2018 came from America’s domestic manufacturers.
Can America Survive on Locally Made Toilet Papers Alone?
America exported about 74K tonnes of toilet paper in 2018. In the same year, the country imported about 208K tonnes of toilet paper. This means that if America either exported or imported toilet papers in 2018, there might have been some shortages in supply.
However, during the heat of the pandemic, when imports were limited and demands for toilet paper supply increased, the paper manufacturers in America started operating 24/7 to meet the consumers’ demands. For instance, Georgia-Pacific, a major producer of toilet papers in the US, increased their production by about 20 percent.
This means that domestic manufacturers are up to the task. They may need to increase their production but they can meet up with consumers’ demands. So, there is no reason to hoard toilet papers thinking supplies will run out or become limited. Toilet papers are not likely to become a scarce commodity in the US.
Is Toilet Paper Made from Trees?
The primary source of most toilet paper is wood from trees. Many toilet papers come from virgin pulp and require the cutting down of new trees. But when these (and other paper products) are used, they can be recycled to produce new toilet papers without having to cut new trees. Recently, there has been a steady rise in the production of alternatives, such as bamboo toilet papers.
You can check out this article that discusses if bamboo toilet paper is environmentally friendly for more information about this type of toilet paper.
In the sections below, we will explain these common sources in more detail:
Toilet Papers Made from Virgin Pulp
About one-third of the toilet papers produced in America come from virgin pulp. The first step in this production process is to cut down a tree and remove the bark. Then, the wood will be chipped into small-sized pieces. The makers cook these small pieces to produce virgin pulp.
They go further to make the pulp colorless by washing and bleaching it. Then they mix some water with the colorless pulp and strain it to press out the water until it dries to the optimum moisture level for toilet paper.
After drying the pulp, they perforate it and roll it into a paper log. The paper log is usually very long. So, they would cut it into smaller paper rolls before packaging it for distribution and sales. You can also check out this article that we have written titled, is bamboo toilet paper sustainable? We have shared an in-depth discussion about the topic.
Toilet Papers Made from Recycled Pulp
About two-thirds of the toilet papers produced in America come from recycled pulp. This source of toilet paper is very friendly to the environment and safer for the ecosystem. The manufacturers don’t have to cut any new trees, so there are no worries about deforestation.
In this method, the manufacturers gather waste paper, already set apart for recycling. They fill a bin with water (usually warm) and pour the waste pepper into the bin. Since some of these papers may contain ink, they aerate the water to get rid of the ink. And since there may be some germs, they sanitize the mixture too. After all of these, they would bleach the recycled pulp to make it colorless.
From here, the process becomes similar to that of virgin pulp. The manufacturers will press the pulp to dry it. But afterward, they would also emboss it to make it stronger. Then they would cut the paper into rolls before packaging for distribution and sales.
Aside from these two options, there are a few other options. Some manufacturers mix both virgin and recycled pulp to make their toilet paper rolls. And some make use of bamboo plants instead of regular trees. Bamboo toilet paper rolls are fast gaining popularity and acceptance because of their eco-friendliness.
Is Toilet Paper Made in the USA?
A lot of toilet paper is made in the USA. The USA is the largest consumer of toilet papers worldwide and about 90% of the toilet paper consumed in America is made by domestic manufacturers. Also, America ranks 8th among the top exporters of toilet papers in the world.
Does the US Import Toilet Paper from China?
The US imports toilet paper from China. In fact, China is the second-largest exporter of toilet paper to the U.S. In 2018 alone, America imported 55K tonnes of toilet papers, worth $86M, from China. We found interesting data from the United Nations COMTRADE database about US international trade in 2019. In that year, the U.S imported toilet papers, towels, and other similar household and sanitary items from China to the tune of $823.44 Million.
We have also written this article that discusses why bamboo toilet paper is so expensive. You can check out the article for an in-depth discussion about the topic.
What Can I Use Instead of Toilet Paper?
A few good alternatives to toilet paper are baby wipes, bidet, and sanitary pads. You can also use reusable cloths, napkins, or towels. We hear that some people also use washcloths and sponges. Just make sure not to flush any of these items down your toilet whenever you use them. We have also shared this article titled, how long does it take for toilet paper to decompose in a septic tank? You can check out the article for more tips and information.
Now you know the top countries where toilet paper is made. You also know the USA’s toilet paper production capacity and the biggest exporters of toilet paper to the USA. From all of the statistics, it’s clear that there is no reason for anyone to hoard toilet papers because the supply will never run out.
We also talked about the raw materials from which toilet paper is made. So, you know where your toilet papers are likely to come from. You also know how these different options affect our environment. So, you can make informed choices when next you’re shopping for toilet rolls.