So how bad is our toilet paper habit, really? The product that we use for less than three seconds extracts a larger ecological consequence than driving Hummers, according to Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the NRDC. More than 98% of all toilet paper sold here comes from virgin wood.
Americans, who use an average of 23.6 rolls per capita a year – more toilet paper than citizens in other countries—three times more than the average European and 100 times more than the average person in China. Europeans and Latin Americans are also less demanding about the quality of their toilet paper, with up to 40% of toilet paper sold in those markets derived from recycled products.
“I really do think it is overwhelmingly an American phenomenon,” said Hershkowitz. “People just don’t understand that softness equals ecological destruction.”
How insane is this? I don’t even see virgin wood used to build homes or furniture anymore, but it is used to make bathroom tissue?
I see this issue in a similar light to organic produce.
It isn’t enough for consumers to vote with their wallets and their pocketbooks. Leadership is needed to make the prices and availability of alternative products practical to consumers.
As far as I know Seventh Generation is the only brand of post consumer bathroom tissue. It an cost several dollars per roll depending on where you shop.
When I was a college student I used Seventh Generation bathroom tissue because I was able to special order mammoth cases of it with my housemates at a discount through the co-op I worked for. Not only is post consumer bathroom tissue more expensive, but a roll of post consumer bathroom tissue doesn’t last as long as conventional bathroom tissue. You need to buy and use more rolls.
“Post consumer” means what most people think of as being “recycled”. It was used for something else and instead of grabbing more resources, it was processed so that it could be used again.
“Recycled” with paper products usually only means that paper scraps that would normally be thrown away in creating paper products were gathered up and used instead.
If you can’t spend several dollars per roll of “post consumer” bathroom tissue you can buy normally priced “recycled” bathroom tissue at CVS. Just look for the “recycled” symbol on CVS brand bathroom tissue. Not all types of bathroom tissue with their label is recycled.
BTW, “CVS” stands for “Customer Value Store”. LOL! Their prices must be good because they don’t pay marketers to do things like up with sexy sounding titles :).
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