Wildlife, the National Wildlife Federation magazine, has a fascinating article by Mike Rotide in its August 2010 issue. According to Rotide, American toilet paper use contributes to deforestation of the Canadian boreal forests. All that pillowy toilet paper we love owes its softness to long wood fibers – fibers in live trees.
In his blog Green Living Tips Michael Bloch, states that only two percent of Americans use toilet paper made from recycled fibers. Bloch, an Australian, challenges, “I’d like to warmly encourage folks in the USA (and to anyone using the virgin fiber sourced paper) to please ignore the marketing that says you need the super-fluffy blinding white paper and at least have a try of the recycled stuff.”
I decided to take Bloch’s challenge.
First, I needed to locate recycled toilet paper. My first shopping trips yielded only premium toilet paper none of which purported to contain recycled fibers. I did find what I sought at a local drug store. Now it was time to test out my recycled toilet paper. I tried the toilet paper and found it okay but a little rough. But then, I knew it was recycled toilet tissue. I figured the real test would be to try it on my family. Without telling anyone, I switched out the toilet paper in the bathrooms replacing our Cottonelle with CVS Earth Essentials. I didn’t have to wait long for the family’s response.
“Geez, where’d you get this stuff? It reminds me of the toilet paper at my Mom’s house,” lamented my husband.
I explained that, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, over 400,000 trees could be saved each year if every American used just one roll of 100 percent recycled toilet paper in lieu of the fluffy stuff. His response, “Heck, every American? That sure won’t happen.” He used a stronger word than “heck” but you get the idea.
Okay, so Earth Essentials was not a big winner at our household. After a little more shopping I found three more toilet paper brands made from recycled fibers: White Cloud (Green Earth), Scott Naturals and Bright Green. All three were not as soft as our normal brand, but they really weren’t that bad. No screams of terror or pain erupted from our washroom as the family tried out the new brands. Maybe it might just be possible to save those 400,000 trees. Our family favorite was White Cloud though Bright Green ranked a close second.
Bright Green and Earth Essentials are processed without the use of chlorine chemicals – another environmental consideration. The chlorine bleaching process which makes our toilet paper so blindingly white creates toxic byproducts. Seventh Generation is another toilet paper brand my family did not test, but is locally available and made without the use of chlorine chemicals. Below is a guide where you can find environmentally friendly toilet paper and have your family do its own comparison.
Here are the brands we tried and where we found them:
Earth Essentials at CVS (100% recycled fiber content, processed without chlorine)
Green Earth (White Cloud) at Walmart (100% recycled fiber content)
Scotts Natural at Walmart (40% recycled fiber content)
Bright Green at Tom Thumb (100% recycled fiber content, processed without chlorine)
Seventh Generation at Staples (100% recycled fiber content, processed without chlorine)