The Latest Innovation in Toilet Paper Technology? Seeds.

It's designed for hikers with minimal ecological impact in mind

Toilet paper
What if there was a way to make toilet paper even more biodegradable?
Getty Images

This is a potentially sensitive topic — both literally and figuratively — but still: let’s talk about toilet paper for a moment. When it comes to design and technology, bidets tend to have their moment in the spotlight more than their paper counterpart. And while hygiene does play a big role in all things toilet paper-related, there’s another component that plays a part here as well: how exactly toilet paper breaks down after you’re done with it.

This is especially relevant for anyone who’s ever taken toilet paper with them while camping or hiking. All of which makes a recent Dezeen article about the work of industrial design student Avia Revivi that much more relevant to this discussion. Revivi, you see, has created a type of toilet paper that has seeds incorporated into it — turning waste into literal fertilizer.

A hiker herself, Revivi’s project, dubbed O-SOW, arose from something she noticed while making her way through the desert. “There were days when I didn’t encounter any other travellers, but I did come across toilet paper,” she told Dezeen.

Is Using a Bidet Actually a Good Idea for Your Body?
They surged in popularity during the pandemic. But do they serve any medical purpose?

Types of paper with seeds embedded within have existed for a while; The Washington Post ran a story on the rise of seed paper last year. And the idea of creating something that can be recycled by as simple an action as planting it in the ground and adding water seems compelling in its simplicity. Ergo: why not apply this to toilet paper?

As Dezeen’s article notes, O-SOW involves some other plant-based components besides seeds, including aloe vera and orange. The latter is there because citrus tends to break down quickly, meaning that hikers are less likely to encounter O-SOW that’s been left in the wild for far longer than anyone would like. We’re a long way from this type of toilet paper being commercially available, but it’s not hard to see the appeal for the environmentally conscious hiker.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.