Sizing Up the Competition – Elemental Recycled Products

Elemental has suspended toilet paper sales. Read more on our blog here.

Sizing Up the Competition

Today we’ll take a look at how Elemental’s toilet paper compares to the best selling toilet paper in the country. That may seem unfair since they launched in 1921 and we launched in June, but we feel like our product is up for the challenge. We’re focusing on Charmin’s Ultra Soft product since this (a) is the best selling toilet paper on Amazon* (b) gets the most shelf space at Target and (c) is the product most asked about by prospective Elemental customers. Short on time? Here’s a brief summary:

1) Show Me the Money

One of the biggest concerns prospective customers have about buying Elemental’s toilet paper is price. We understand this concern and are constantly looking for ways to bring our price down. Producing toilet paper in small volumes (relative to industry standards) and then shipping that product to your door is expensive. We also refuse to compromise the quality of our product, as we want to have the best product available in order to incite as many people as possible to switch from a virgin toilet paper (i.e. on made from newly cut trees) to a recycled toilet paper (i.e. one made from recycled paper).

If price is your biggest concern, you should definitely be buying our 48 roll product. Consider buying one 48 pack every 2–3 months as opposed to a 12 or 24 pack every month. Want to save even more? If you sign up for our subscription service, you’ll get an additional 5% off every order and you’ll never have to worry about running out of toilet paper again. With a subscription service, you can have your order delivered every 1, 2 or 3 months and you can change, pause or cancel your subscription at anytime. We offer 12 and 24 packs for customers that have limited storage space or want to try the product before committing to a bigger order size.

Compare our price to Charmin Ultra Soft’s price and, perhaps surprisingly, you’ll see we are generally a better value than they are. To do this, we computed a per sheet price. Our rolls are 400 sheets per roll. Charmin’s “Mega” roll has 326 sheets per roll and their “Mega Family” roll has 363 sheets per roll.

Chart comparing Elemental's toilet paper to Charmin's toilet paper

When you compare price per sheet, at $0.0025, Elemental’s 48 pack is 26% cheaper than Charmin’s price on Amazon (where shipping is also free) and 30% cheaper than their price on Target (where shipping is free when you order 48 rolls, but not when you order 24 rolls). All three sites offer 5% off these prices for subscribing.

2) Bigger Where it Counts

When you set a roll of our product next to a roll of theirs, it may seem that they are a bit bigger than us. So we dug into the details...


Chamin’s sheets are a bit taller than us (4.27” versus 4.00”)** but we are a bit wider than them (4.00” versus 3.72”). This means their sheet is 15.88 square inches whereas we are 16.00 square inches. At the sheet level, we are actually 1% bigger than them, making us an even better value.


3) Creature Comforts

A few other things you’ll notice when comparing the two products. First, Charmin is a bit whiter that Elemental. This is because Chamin, like virtually all toilet paper from freshly cut trees, is whitened using a process call ECP––Elemental Chlorine Free. Back in the 20th century, toilet paper used to be processed with Chlorine gas (i.e. elemental chlorine) to whiten it, but this process greatly polluted the environment and was outlawed by the EPA in the late 1990s. Although the ECP process––which uses chlorine-dioxide to whiten as opposed to chlorine gas––is an improvement, it still releases significant chemicals into the environment.

Elemental’s toilet paper is Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) which means than NO CHLORINE is used to whiten our product. The result is that we are not quite as white as they are, but no chemical byproducts result from our whitening process.

You’ll also notice that Elemental’s toilet paper has significantly more bumps in its emboss pattern compared to Charmin. The goal here is to give you as comfortable of a wipe as possible when you use our product. A virgin product (again, one from fresh cut trees) is inherently going to be softer than a recycled product. This is because the fibers in the virgin product are longer. Because we start with a recycled piece of paper that has been chipped at least once, our fibers are a bit shorter and thus our paper is a bit less soft.

This is where the emboss pattern becomes so important. By using so many bumps, our product feels softer when you use it. Trying is believing here, but this is some of the magic behind Elemental’s toilet paper and the reason we think we can convince many Charmin or other virgin toilet paper loyalists to try and ultimately switch to our 100% recycled product.

4) Saving Trees

Of course the last comparison is the most important if you, like us, love being outside and surrounded by nature. Its estimated that 27,000 trees are cut down EVERY DAY to make toilet paper (source). All of the paper used to produce Charmin’s toilet paper is from freshly cut trees. The paper used to make Elemental’s toilet paper is recycled from used paper. This means that not only has no tree been cut down, but waste paper is prevented from going into the landfill. That’s a double win for the environment!


PS Understanding Chamin’s product line is incredibly complex and frustrating! They offer at least five sizes all of which have, in our opinion, confusing names: Mega Roll, Mega Plus, Super Mega, Double Rolls, Family Roll. You’ll notice that they do not offer a “standard roll,” but they love comparing themselves to the standard roll. The “Mega” roll with 326 sheets is supposed to be the same size as four standard rolls. This implies that a standard roll is 82 sheets. The “Family Mega” roll is supposed to be five times bigger than a standard roll. This means is should be 82 sheets bigger than the “Mega” roll or 408 sheets total, but in fact it only has 363 sheets. We also found packages labeled “Mega” rolls at other retailers with only 284 sheets per roll, yet making the same claim to be four times bigger than a standard roll. Elemental promises to never engage in these kinds of deceptive marketing practices, as we value integrity and focus on making the best recycled product possible for our customers!

*All pricing and retail rankings/placement was accurate as of July 29th, 2018.

**We also found Charmin Ultra Soft rolls at other retailers that were 3.92” x 4.0”. This is still a bit less area per sheet than Elemental.

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