Green Life Project is a weekly series of posts highlighting one change for readers to make in their life in order to gradually green their lives. If you’re just joining us, feel free to jump right in here on week five — you can catch up later!
This week’s Green Life Project action item is to begin purchasing 100% recycled content toilet paper.
A popular recent New York Times article states that, “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.”
What should you do? Wipe your butt — with a green toilet paper!
Purchase a 100% recycled content toilet paper. Try to find one with at least 50% post-consumer product and one which was not manufactured using chlorine-based bleach.
But it’s toilet paper. Why does it matter what I flush down the toilet?
As we work toward personal sustainability, we have to look beyond our own backsides.
Check it out these four must-read bullet points regarding the, “toilet tissue issue,” (mostly from the same New York Times article) and see how your use of a such a seemingly mundane product could be so very damaging to our environment!
- Most manufacturers using virgin wood fibers instead of recycled paper use dioxin-laden chlorine-based bleach to whiten the fibers, adding to the pollution costs of using non-recycled content toilet paper.
- Manufacturing toilet paper from virgin wood fibers uses much more water than turning paper back into fibers. As increasing populations demand more from dwindling water supplies due to both overtaxed groundwater sources and old annual melt patterns changing due to global warming, manufacturing must stop taking up so much of our necessary freshwater supplies!
- Using recycled paper for toilet paper creates much less solid waste tonnage that has to be shipped to landfills. A truck, burning fossil fuels, hauls that waste, then it is buried in our limited landfill space.
- Depending upon the brand of TP, a quarter to one-half of their fibers come from tree farms. The rest? Old-growth forests, necessary for both greenhouse gas absorption and habitat (not to mention natural beauty).
Wiping your hiney with virgin fibers is worse than driving a hummer?
If you have read this far, I doubt that you’re the type to drive a humvee. “This is a product that we use for less than three seconds and the ecological consequences of manufacturing it from trees is enormous,” said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defence Council, said in a recent Guardian article.
Hershkowitz went on to say that it is a lot worse than driving a humvee, regarding global warming pollution.
Unconvinced? Think it’s going to be rough?
So, this is a bit personal, but I have not had any trouble with reycled content toilet paper — it really can be quite soft! I reviewed President’s Choice TP last year and have yet to try some other brands, like Marcal, the oldest recycled paper manufacturer in the U.S.
Need more guidance? Don’t want to wing it alone?
You can download a handy guide to toilet paper from Green Peace. This is a big step (and an easy one!) to make toward improving your envirohuman impact and causing less pollution!
Have you tried a reycled toilet paper? Care to give any recommendations?