Coming for the throne: Zero Co launches new toilet paper, targeting Who Gives A Crap

David Adams

David Adams

Zero Co

Australian households are now flush with options for direct-to-consumer toilet paper brands, after cleaning goods powerhouse Zero Co launched a loo roll delivery offering directly competing with Who Gives A Crap.

Smart50 Rising Star winner Zero Co, the Australian startup dedicated to eliminating single-use plastic waste in the FMCG category, launched its first toilet paper offering this month.

Zero Co states the rolls come from 100 per cent recycled paper, with those local and imported materials rolled, wrapped, and boxed in a Sydney facility.

The rolls are now available for order on the Zero Co site, alongside its more well-known cleaning and household goods.

Perhaps more interesting than the product itself is its placement in the market: by offering a new D2C toilet paper, Zero Co is now directly targeting Who Gives A Crap, another darling of Australia’s startup scene.

Zero Co is trying to create its 70,000th Australian customer household and will hope the growing presence of its cleaning products in kitchen and laundry cupboards across the country will extend to the toilet.

But even though its new product is soft, the competition won’t be.

Who Gives A Crap raised $41.5 million in 2021 to assist its net zero emissions target, nine years after launching its initial crowdfunding campaign, and a year after the social enterprise exploded in popularity when the Covid-19 pandemic turned toilet paper into one of Australia’s hottest commodities.

That financial boost surely influenced Who Gives A Crap’s decision to launch its own shower product brand Good Time in September – a clear stab at the Zero Co hair and body care products now gracing the country’s shower racks.

SmartCompany has contacted Zero Co for comment.

Even as two of the nation’s most notable social enterprises tussle for toilet supremacy, other players are also rising through the ranks.

Emotions, a toilet paper brand formed in 2021 by Melbourne-based Rochelle Rich, has opened a new equity crowdfunding round to drive its own unique consumer offering.

Unlike the eclectic wrapping designs favoured by Who Gives A Crap and Zero Co’s new rolls, Emotions rolls are covered in illustrations covering the spectrum of human experience, with doodles expressing everything from pride to fear and disappointment.

Rich says the idea came from her own experience of helping her young son navigate complex emotions after a family tragedy.

The emotional chart Rich compiled with the help of a freelancer inspired the Emotions wrapping paper, which the company says can remind customers that support is available.

Half of all Emotions profits are channelled to mental health support services Lifeline, Beyond Blue, and The Black Dog Institute.

The company is now chasing national expansion, potentially offering another option to Australian consumers softened to the social enterprise-via-toilet paper model popularised by Who Gives A Crap.

Other contenders exist in the D2C scene, too, including Australian-made option Cheeky, and bamboo-based Peekapoo, adding even more plies to what was once a thin market for subscription-based toilet paper deliveries.

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