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Seed tape toilet paper: Not your typical nonwoven TP

Swatches | May 1, 2024 | By:

The O-SOW biodegradable toilet paper is made from oranges and aloe leaves and is stored in a case made from recycled parachute fabric. Image: Avia Revivi/Erel Ben Yehuda

Because even the toilet paper for hikers marketed for its biodegradability sticks around for weeks to months, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design student Avia Revivi turned to citrus and aloe to develop a seed tape-type alternative TP that degrades much faster and sows seeds as it’s used. Plant seeds included in the O-SOW prototype testing were mint, peony, rose, parsley and cress seeds. 

Gardeners have been using seed tape for more than 100 years to make it easier to plant the tiniest of seeds, even making it themselves using toilet paper. This novel idea combines those products. 

“I aim to map popular trekking areas and assign each a number of seeds suitable for growing,” says Revivi. The testing process included the help of hikers on the Israeli National Trail, which is a two-month-long trek. Her testing subjects gave Revivi “technical and emotional” feedback on all the details of its use to determine the best size and shape for the sheets. O-SOW is thicker than toilet paper yet flexible and biodegrades in three to five days. Regular toilet paper takes one to three years to break down—or longer, depending on soil conditions.

The product comes in a paper wrapper and can be carried in a reusable pouch made of upcycled parachute fabric that allows one sheet to be removed at a time.

Hikers and campers should always check for “leave no trace” rules where they are visiting. And one step above “leave no trace” is “leave it better than you found it.”

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