Can a product shipped from China have a low Co2 than UK and European manufacturing?

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Self proclaimed as the UK's biggest importer of sugarcane toilet roll and hand towels, Fig products are putting the cat amongst the pigeons when it comes to sustainability claims.

The world is waking up to greenwashing and measures are being taken by official bodies, particularly in Europe, to penalise and call out those who are jumping on the green bandwagon without the credentials to back it up. Good stuff, more of this please.

However, the vast majority of us are uneducated when it comes to the actual CO2 numbers of shipping and manufacturing. We are told that a product is environmentally friendly by the sales rep, marketing and fluff. 

We're only interested in facts. There was a gap in our knowledge when it came to shipping from the Far East and the footprint it leaves on our planet. Speaking with Stephen Gear, Founder of Fig, at the Loo of the Year Awards last week, we learned that products from China may be less impactful compared to more locally manufactured products that we all assume.

Fig Toilet Paper 3 ply

Stephen helps us cut to the headline figures.

Carbon footprint for making 1 toilet roll:

  • Manufacturing bamboo/sugarcane in China 76 grams of CO2
  • Shipping from China to the UK 38 grams of CO2

Total: 114 grams of CO2

  • Average carbon footprint for making 1 recycled toilet roll in the UK 188 grams of CO2
  • Average carbon footprint for making 1 pure pulp toilet roll in the UK 289 grams of CO2


Bamboo/sugarcane including shipping to the UK 114g of CO2

Recycled toilet roll made in the UK 188g of CO2

Pure pulp toilet roll made in the UK 289g of CO2

This demonstrates that bamboo/sugarcane still has a 40% lower carbon footprint even including the shipping from China.'

As business who has supplied many brands of genuinely sustainable paper consumables for over ten years, we are keen to remain an informed and educated supplier. 

For many years, Katrin, have helped us provide fantastic products with a solid sustainability report year-on-year. With more options coming to the market, the competition is hotting up. We want to make sure that our customers are equipped to make their own choices based upon facts first then product focus second.

Lucart have hit the ground running with their circular economy range made from recycled TetraPak and Cheeky Panda have found their way into many large away-from-home (commercial) contracts as well as developing their domestic business.

It seems from this report that Stephen and the team at Fig are onto something with their impressive sugarcane products and we'll be offering these to our customers.

A selling point of sugarcane paper products is the rapid breakdown time. Based on a test with 3 sheets in a bottle with 250ml of water, the break down time is apparently just 4 seconds. If confirmed via our own testing, this could be huge for building with victorian or low pressure plumbing. Think of the call out charges saved from blockages. 

Look out for a video on the channels below for a test where we compare the Katrin Easy Flush, Lucart Aquastream and Fig.

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