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Aldi’s distant cousin Trader Joe’s is, first and foremost, known for its food, but the store also carries a small line of toiletries, almost all of them under its own private label. One such toiletry is the staple of the bathroom, toilet paper. If you’ve ever shopped at TJ’s, chances are you’ve seen it and wondered if it is any good.
We put it to the test to find out.
Trader Joe’s Bath Tissue comes in a package of 12 rolls totaling 350 square feet of toilet paper. The package runs $4.99, which comes out to about 1.4 cents a square foot. For comparison, this is about 0.3 cents more per square foot than Aldi’s middle-of-the-road Willow So Soft Premium, and it’s about the same price per square foot as Target’s Up and Up Soft and Strong Toilet Paper. (All of them, by the way, are listed safe for septic tanks.)
However, there are two additional considerations here. Trader Joe’s toilet paper is made from 100% recycled paper, 80% of which is post-consumer content. In addition, TJ’s TP is made without chlorine bleach, something most toilet paper brands use to help achieve a white appearance. There aren’t a lot of bath tissue brands that fit those specs — the ones above don’t — and those that do aren’t cheap: Seventh Generation Recycled Bath Tissue, available at Walmart, is more than twice the cost of Trader Joe’s paper, running 3.0 cents a square foot.
On its environmental merits, then, Trader Joe’s Bath Tissue is a pretty good deal for the price. But how well does it work?
Again, that depends on what you compare it to. If you compare it to traditional toilet paper, you’re liable to find that it’s not as soft. You can feel it just in your hands off the roll, but it’s just as apparent when you use it. It’s more coarse than the normal stuff. I didn’t find that it chafed, per say, but it definitely feels like a step down.
However, a coarser texture is a common liability among bath tissue made of recycled paper, so in that arena the TJ’s tissue isn’t that surprising. What’s more, some users report that some recycled toilet paper can shred and dissolve when used, but we didn’t have that problem with Trader Joe’s toilet paper. It held up to all our normal rigors of bath tissue use as well as anything else we used.
What you think about Trader Joe’s Bath Tissue will depend on how important sustainability is to you. If you’re in the market for toilet paper made from recycled paper — and want the bonus of chlorine-free production — Trader Joe’s is not only a solidly constructed toilet paper, but it’s the cheapest I can find in the arena. In fact, the price itself is surprisingly competitive, running on par with big box store brands. It’s even cheaper than some (but not all) of the Aldi toilet papers out there.
The biggest knock is texture. While it seems to hold up well, it’s more coarse than non-recycled toilet paper. This is not uncommon with recycled paper, but people who are used to traditional toilet paper might find it a little harder on the skin than they are used to. Whether that matters is probably up to individual consumers.