Having a strong passion for everything health and wellness, it was easy for Tanya to think outside the square with respect to toilet paper – no pun intended there. Questioning why there couldn’t be a more accessible brand of toilet paper which was sustainable and take part in saving the planet, she decided to embark on creating her own brand Eco Cheeks.
Made from bamboo, Eco Cheeks is as safe as toilet paper can get. It is completely natural, unbleached, is environmental friendly and body friendly too. It is completely biodegradable, soft and strong, is triple ply and each roll has 300 sheets.
And the name? Well is is fairly self-explanatory. As the brand’s products are designed for butts and faces, cheeks was a good representation of what it does. And Eco, well, we don’t really need too explain that part.
Tanya is thirty nine years old. She is married to her partner Tristin and has a son, Alfie, 1. They happily live in the Gold Coast where the sun seems to always shine, and although she has no background in the toilet paper industry, Tanya didn’t let that stop her from creating her own brand.
“I have a firm belief in what we put in, on and around our body, contributes to our overall health. I absolutely love life and part of that is being fit, healthy and able for as long as possible, so that we can experience as much as possible.
My health journey started with exercise and eating right, then the education came about all the hidden toxins which are in our everyday products and food. With a big belief that food is our medicine, I was studying a degree in Nutrition up until I had our little one and I have worked with a couple of companies with the ethos of creating safe and transparent products, which has been part of the growth and building a path for me.”
It was when Tanya started to learn that chlorine bleach was being used to whiten conventional toilet papers, she decided it was time to make a change. She felt the toilet paper industry lacked the ethos and ideals she wanted in a toilet paper.
“Why does toilet paper even need to be white? It’s going into the environment during manufacturing, then as a waste product and we’re putting it on one of the most absorbent areas of the body. Through research I learnt that when pulp and chlorine bleach are mixed together it can create dioxins, a group of chemical compounds that are persistent environmental pollutants.
Although some claim to be bleach free by using EFC (elemental free chlorine). This process uses chlorine dioxide instead which is better to reduce dioxins, however it is still a toxic substance. I thought it was crazy to be taking the risk for our bodies and for the planet, all for the sake of white paper. With this I just looked for an alternative. With nothing on the market, I became a toilet paper enthusiast and did it myself.”
It wasn’t an easy journey to begin with. Finding the right manufacturer was a long process, and it took Tanya around five months to find someone she could work with to create her environmentally and body-safe toilet paper.
“We don’t grow bamboo on the scale to produce products in Australia, so we needed to go off shore. We didn’t take the decision lightly, and in doing this, there were certain third party audit certifications a manufacturer needed to hold for us to be confident and have a conscious that the environment and the workers were looked after and protected.
Out of hundreds, only a few had all certifications. Then it came down to who could develop the best quality product. Quality was hugely important as a lot of people want to make better more environmentally friendly choices, but if a product isn’t enjoyable to use, then making those switches aren’t sustainable long term.
Then of course, launching a product that was against the norm, the biggest being the colour of the paper, which is beige. Going up against white, we knew would be challenging. The other part which was challenging, was seeing who else was crazy enough to think it was a great idea and I’m happy to say I’m far from alone – other people wanted eco-friendly products. Of course developing and launching during Covid-19 last year came with its delays in manufacturing and freight, but I believe that it all works out the way it is meant to,” Tanya says.
Studies and research have shown consumable products like toilet paper, are damaging the environment. And the amount being used by every household around the planet is contributing to that.
If you reflect back on 2020, and the toilet paper shortage we endured, where people were literally buying out their local supermarket of toilet paper, it doesn’t take much to see how we humans are quite literally obsessed and dependent on toilet paper.
Tanya explains; “When we know deforestation is one of the leading causes of climate change, we need to stop flushing our forests and switch to an alternate sustainable source like bamboo or recycled. The Natural Resources Defense Council, Incorporated (NRDC) in America estimates that fifteen percent of deforestation is due to toilet paper and for a developed country, Australia is one of the worst.”
We’ve cleared nearly half of our forest cover in the last two hundred years. Not to mention the killing of so many native animals. There are many alternatives to make paper rather than knocking down old forests. I think everyone be looking at alternative ways to protecting our planet.”
Though the brand started out as toilet paper only, Tanya does have future plans to branch out into other areas of product developments, like tissues, and possibly paper towels. The priority right now is creating safe and sustainable everyday disposables, that are toxic free and kind to our environment. Saving the planet one roll at a time.
Eco Cheeks toilet paper can be purchased online here. It’s available either naked (without being wrapped in paper,) or wrapped in paper. Each box you order contain 36 rolls and you can choose how often you would like to have your toilet paper delivered too.
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