2009/03/09

Green toilet paper

What's the deal with Americans? If there's some kind of behavior that's bad for the environment, we seem to always be its biggest fans. We drive the most, eat the most meat, buy the most stuff, build the most sprawl - and buy the softest toilet paper.

As far as I can tell, toilet paper made from recycled paper works just as well, but it doesn't have that soft feel that Americans apparently require. For that you have to cut down trees, including old-growth forests in Canada. So recycled-content toilet paper is a miniscule part of the American market, unlike in Europe and Latin America where it accounts for about 1/5 of sales.

According to Greenpeace, these are the brands best for the environment (the first number is percentage of recycled post-consumer waste, the second is overall recycled content. All avoid chlorine bleaching):

Green Forest 90 100
365 80 100
April Soft 80 100
Earth Friendly 80 100
Fiesta and Fiesta Green 80 100
Natural Value 80 100
Seventh Generation 80 100
Trader Joe’s 80 100

It's far more important, of course, to reduce/eliminate your driving and meat eating, buy less stuff, weatherize your home and switch your lightbulbs, etc. But if you can help save a tree you might as well.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Save Trees? Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Get serious and add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off” Available at www.bathroomsprayers.com with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without felling guilty. It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt with prudently but please remember that in the big picture the industrial water users always far exceed the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways.