The New York Times today reported in their Environment section that American’s love of fluffy toilet paper is a major cause of worldwide deforestation. The toilet paper industry consumes millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, and most brands of tp even contain some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada.
While toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them. James Malone, a spokesman for Georgia Pacific (the maker of Quilted Northern) claims that customers want soft, comfortable toilet paper and he does not believe it is possible to make soft toilet paper from recycled fiber.
Environmentalists are increasingly making toilet tissue manufacturers the targets of campaigns. On Monday, Greenpeace issued a national guide for American consumers that rates toilet tissue brands on their environmental soundness. Download the guide.
“No forest of any kind should be used to make toilet paper,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist and waste expert with the Natural Resource Defense Council.
According to the New York Times: “In the United States, which is the largest market worldwide for toilet paper, tissue from 100 percent recycled fibers makes up less than 2 percent of sales for at-home use among conventional and premium brands. Most manufacturers use a combination of trees to make their products. According to RISI, an independent market analysis firm in Bedford, Mass., the pulp from one eucalyptus tree, a commonly used tree, produces as many as 1,000 rolls of toilet tissue. Americans use an average of 23.6 rolls per capita a year.
“Other countries are far less picky about toilet tissue. In many European nations, a rough sheet of paper is deemed sufficient. Other countries are also more willing to use toilet tissue made in part or exclusively from recycled paper.”
Click here to read the entire New York Times article.
Your green printer recommends making the switch to recycled toilet paper. Don’t let your home become a forest dispenser!