A post with a video is spreading on the Internet, according to which the EU wants to replace classic toilet paper with paper made from straw. In fact, toilet paper in the EU must meet criteria in accordance with the Anti-Deforestation Regulation, but there is no intention to ban cellulose-based toilet paper, nor to promote straw-based toilet paper, under both the adopted and proposed legislation. The spokesperson of the European Commission also ruled out that the EU plans to ban ordinary toilet paper.
The video in the post begins with the claim that the EU wants to replace toilet paper made from pulp (cellulose, note) because it is not environmentally friendly. He goes on to say that “the European Union is already pushing for an unusual solution”, which according to Spanish media is to make toilet paper from straw. The paper concludes by also stating that over time, classic toilet paper may disappear completely.
Does the EU want to replace toilet paper?
Toilet paper is subject to the anti-deforestation regulation ( .pdf , pp. 448–455). Currently, wood products, such as pulp for toilet paper, can only be placed on and exported from the EU market if they do not come from recently deforested areas or have not contributed to forest degradation.
However, no legislation has been adopted in the EU that would limit the use of classic toilet paper or that would promote the use of straw paper. We also searched for proposed legal standards on the portals eur-lex.europa.eu and oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu , but we did not find any other proposals related to toilet paper made from straw.
The AFP agency already verified a similar post in September 2023 in Poland and came to the conclusion that the ban on toilet paper in the EU is a hoax. Although there is also toilet paper made from straw instead of wood pulp on the market, there is no pressure from the EU for member countries to use it or to ban other types. A spokesman for the European Commission told AFP : “The European Union has no intention of banning toilet paper. And there is no proposal, current or pending, to ban it in the future.”
What the Spanish media are writing about
The articles spreading this hoax refer to the Spanish newspaper elEconomista .
In July 2023, this newspaper actually published an article on the topic of personal hygiene, but it focused primarily on the use of bidets. In the end, the article only notes that, according to the Libre Mercado portal, Brussels wants to promote straw toilet paper with the aim of “reducing its CO2 emissions by at least 35% by 2030”.
In fact, the Libre Mercado portal points to the European Investment Bank’s investment in various projects aimed at solving the climate and environmental emergency on our planet, including a project to produce toilet paper from straw. Essity , for example, started producing toilet paper from straw in 2021 , which also received a loan from the European Investment Bank for development and innovation in the field of sustainability.
Where the hoax spreads
A similar hoax, also with reference to the Spanish media, spread in Poland, for example . Some Slovak sites and the conspiracy portal ereport.sk also dealt with this topic . The video was shared in September 2023 by the current Minister of Culture, Martina Šimkovičová, with the comment that “straw should replace toilet paper”.
It is not true that the European Union plans to ban toilet paper made from cellulose. Straw toilet paper is produced by Essity, a company backed by the European Investment Bank, but the European Union is not putting any pressure on member states to ban or replace conventional toilet paper with paper made from straw. We have also found no proposed or adopted EU legislation regarding straw toilet paper.