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If you aim to make an impact in reducing plastic usage, you might want to start with yourself. Since we’ve started the Plastic Soup Nudge Unit, we have come to realize how much plastic we were actually using on a daily basis. That’s when we decided that we should put our money where our mouths are and find ways for plastic free living ourselves. In this blog series, we will take you along on our journey to make the switch and substantiate this with behavioral insights.

This week, Dirkje will share her experience with The Good Roll, a sustainable toilet paper brand.


A feel-good approach to toilet paper

Due to the coronavirus, toilet paper has gained immense popularity in recent months. While a global pandemic turned our lives upside down, toilet paper seemed to be the one thing we really couldn’t live without.

Before launching the Plastic Soup Nudge Unit, I didn’t really think about the plastic packaging that comes with toilet paper and kitchen paper. It was just always there. The plastic packaging is mostly used to store the product and keep it clean, but is it absolutely necessary? No, it is not. It wasn’t until I downloaded the My Little Plastic Footprint app that I realized that there were other solutions. The first brand that popped up (and kept popping up in my instagram timeline for weeks) was The Good Roll.

The Good Roll offers 100% tree-friendly and sustainable toilet paper and kitchen towels. The products themselves are made from 100% environmentally-friendly and recycled materials and even the packaging is completely plastic free. And that’s not even the best part. This product is designed to make you feel good and do good. More on that later.


About the switch

When I buy my toilet paper at the supermarket, I tend to go for the largest pack I can find. This saves (a bit of) unnecessary plastic packaging, but – if I’m being completely honest – the main reason is that I can last longer without having to go back to buy a new pack. Everyone uses it, but there’s something about walking around town with toilet paper that makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

That’s all over now that I’ve switched to The Good Roll. Although you can find them in some supermarkets (which is amazing by the way!), the easiest way to purchase their products is through their website. Not only do they offer a wider range of products online, they also offer at-home delivery, which is very convenient for a prude like me.

This does make switching to the plastic free alternative a bit more difficult though. In order to purchase The Good Roll’s products, you have to visit the website and order the products separately from your other groceries. At the supermarket you can only buy a small pack of four, which seems expensive and inefficient compared to other brands you can find on the shelves. 

At first sight, the products seem more expensive than the “standard” plastic-packaged alternatives. I ordered a box of 24 rolls of bamboo toilet paper and another box that contained 10 rolls of kitchen paper. In total I paid about 34 euros including shipping costs, which honestly feels like I’m paying way too much for just toilet paper and kitchen towels. However, an infographic on the website shows that this is not the case, since The Good Roll lasts far longer than the average brand and is actually cheaper compared to its alternatives. While the explanation about the pricing is very clear and convincing, the first impression about the product’s pricing might actually prevent people from making the sustainable choice. In this case, The Good Roll has to rely on their customer’s ability to make rational decisions, when we know from behavioral science that people find this hard to do.


Consumer experience

Now this is the fun part. From the moment you visit the website until the moment you actually use your products, The Good Roll makes sure you feel good about what you’re doing. As soon as you’ve placed your order on the very cheerful and user-friendly website, you get a confirmation email full of toilet-related jokes. I’ve never laughed out loud while buying toilet paper, so this was a rather new experience for me.

The email also states that you’re now a hero, since The Good Roll donates 50% of their profits to building toilets in developing countries. The psychological effect on your (formerly mundane) purchase of toilet paper, is that you now feel like an altruistic person. The communication after your purchase provides you with feedback that confirms this part of your identity. This way, The Good Roll makes you feel that you’re the kind of person that helps those in need and they definitely make you feel really good about that.

Another thing that really adds to the experience is the amount of attention that is paid to the packaging. And I’m not just talking about the friendly feel-good postcards and hilarious stickers that come with the product. What’s unique about The Good Roll is that their toilet paper rolls and kitchen towels are all individually wrapped in (recycled) paper. The paper wrap comes in several different designs that are all equally cheerful and funny. My favorite wrap is definitely the one with pandas that says “I’m not fat, I am just fluffy!”. They even have a holiday special, with winter and Christmas related designs accompanied by holiday quotes.

Precisely this attention to detail makes The Good Roll’s products stand out. The packaging instantly brings cheer to your bathroom and I just love the look of the different designs stacked together on my bathroom shelf. The Good Roll also offers wrapless versions of their toilet paper packs for those who think the packaging is a bit much, but I personally really like that it keeps the product clean and dust-free.


The product itself

For obvious reasons, I’m not going to elaborate on this as much as I did with the Happy Soaps review. I’ll keep it simple: it’s soft and it does its job just as well as the premium brand I used before. What more do you need ;-)? 


Behavior change techniques

Just in case you haven’t noticed already: I’m quite impressed by what The Good Roll does in terms of positioning the sustainable choice. Unlike most other sustainable brands, the sustainability argument is not dominant in their marketing. This makes their products attractive to several different target groups, and not just the environmental enthusiasts. 

The Good Roll’s starting point is that they design products to make you feel good. Whether that’s because you’re contributing to a good cause, saving trees, taking good care of your body or just making your bathroom look really really cool: it’s the combination of feel-good experience and sympathy for the brand that keeps you coming back.

And it doesn’t do just that: I’m literally bragging about my toilet paper to everyone that does or doesn’t visit my toilet now, and some even think about switching to The Good Roll’s products themselves. The amazing consumer experience induces word of mouth, which still is one of the most persuasive marketing strategies out there. To amplify this even more, The Good Roll places reviews on their website and asks their customers to share their products on social media. Since the packaging is really instagram-worthy, this actually happens a lot. This is a great example of social proof.

My expectation is that we’re going to see a lot more from The Good Roll in the next few years. I don’t think I’m ever going back to plain and boring toilet paper again. Although the designs and the brand’s tone of voice make the products so appealing to many, it’s a matter of taste and I can imagine that the designs are not for everyone. I would love to see how The Good Roll is going to appeal to an even larger target group in the future.


Overall evaluation:

Ease to switch: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The product itself: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer experience: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Use of behavior change techniques: ⭐⭐⭐⭐