Toilet paper is becoming less sustainable and that’s a problem for trees worldwide

With all the concern about our environment shifting toward single-use plastics, many companies are using the opportunity to start using less recycled material in toilet paper, making it less sustainable then ever before and a bigger threat to trees.

Deforestation in our world is a major problem with more and more trees being cut down every day to make way for agricultural developments and to produce products.

Toilet paper is one of those products, and companies are now hoping people won’t notice that they are exploiting the furor over plastic to quietly reduce their use of recycled material in every roll.

A new report shows that companies like Kimberley-Clark that used to make rolls of toilet paper using 30 percent recycled materials are now using around 23 percent. It’s clearly a cost-cutting scheme. But while it may help CEOs fatten their wallets, it contributes to deforestation and hurts the planet.

“There is no need to cut down forests to make toilet roll, yet this is precisely what is happening,” Ethical Consumer researcher Alex Crumbie told The Guardian. “With consumer attention focused on plastic, some of the big brands have slowed and even reversed their use of recycled paper in the toilet rolls they make.”

It just demonstrates that corporations can’t be trusted and will put profits above all else no matter what, especially if people are not paying attention.

Kimberley-Clark sells toilet paper around the world, including in the United States. And some of the wood pulp they use for their rolls come from forests in Canada, which are slowly dwindling.

“Most Americans probably do not know that the toilet paper they flush away comes from ancient forests, but clear-cutting those forests is costing the planet a great deal,” Natural Resources Defense Council’s Canada Project director Anthony Swift said.

Kimberley-Clark, of course, insists that it cares about protecting forests.

“As one of the world’s largest buyers of market pulp, we know that protecting forests is critical to creating a resilient supply chain for our products,” the company said in a statement. “By having the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) trademark on packaging for products like Andrex, we’re using the strong reputation of our brands to raise awareness of responsible forestry around the world.”

Manufacturing toilet paper produces more carbon than other wood pulp-based products. Furthermore, each roll produced wastes 37 gallons of water. So, it’s not only a disaster for forests, it wastes precious water resources that we are going to need considering global temperatures and drought are on the rise.

And this waste produces a product that only 30 percent of the population uses worldwide.

“Only around 30% of the world’s population uses toilet roll,” Crumbie said. “So we know that there are lots of perfectly hygienic alternatives to using paper-based products. It’s important we consider what we’re using to wipe our behinds with, because at the moment our precious planet is getting a bum deal.”

The study recommends several alternative toilet paper brands that are made of recycled materials, including Ecoleaf, Essential, Traidcraft, Earth’s First, Natural Value, Green Forest, Seventh Generation and Trader Joe’s Bath Tissue.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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