Choose the most eco-friendly bathroom tissue

Not all bathroom tissue is created equal – in fact, there are huge differences between the most and least eco-friendly types.  Considering how much of it we use, it makes good sense to choose the most eco-friendly.  Here are four tips:

  1. Look for 100% recycled paper with as high a content of post-consumer waste as possible. Post-consumer waste is paper collected from recycling programs (newspapers, flyers, envelopes, etc.), so a high level really means that you are saving a tree.  Paper made from recycled pre-consumer waste (print overruchlorine-freens, trimmings, etc.) isn’t as good, but it’s still better than paper made from virgin fibre.
  2. Look for paper certified as ‘processed chlorine free’. If you can’t find the logo, look for a statement about low or no chlorine use.
  3. Choose large or double rolls over small ones: they mean fewer cardboard tubes and less plastic packaging.
  4. Look for paper wrapped in recyclable #4 plastic, and recycle it with your other soft plastic (IE grocery bags, bread bags, milk bags).

And, don’t forget that the first of the three Rs, Reduce, is by far the most important one!

(Below is a label I spotted on a package recently – not perfect, but pretty good!)

label

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Choose the right tissue paper

Home tissue products have long been made from virgin fibre (IE straight from the tree; zero percent recycled).  That means we have cut LOTS of trees to make napkins, paper towels, facial tissue and bathroom tissue, which are designed to be used once and then trashed or flushed.  Even today, several leading brands of tissue products are still 100% virgin fibre.  Arg – we are flushing trees down the toilet.

Fortunately, the market is changing: many paper companies have started offering tissue products that contain recycled paper.  You can help speed up that market change (and save a tree) by choosing recycled tissue products the next time you shop.  Look for the recycled logo, and aim for as high a percentage of post-consumer content as possible.

Click here for more background on this issue (dated but good information).  Click here (for Canada) and here (for US) to see how some popular brands stack up.