It Has Begun… Green Activists Want a Ban On Soft Toilet Paper
Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups have pushed manufacturers such as Kimberly-Clark (Cottonelle) and Procter & Gamble (Charmin) to stop using wood from virgin forests to make tissue products.
Mountains of paper are dumped every day into recycling bins in homes, offices, factories and schools. Use that to make toilet paper, the activists said.
Time to roll off the big number: If each American family would buy one recycled roll just one time, it would save 400,000 trees, allegedly.
The problem, though, is that each time paper is shredded during the recycling process, its fibers get shorter. The shorter the fiber, the less soft the tissue. And Americans, though indicating in surveys that they embraced green initiatives, also said they don’t want to sacrifice comfort.
“The truth is that other parts of the world are further along in using recycled content,” said Kay Jackson, spokeswoman for Kimberly-Clark. “The American consumer still wants softness, and they are speaking with their pocketbooks.”
Pulling back in a competitive market is asking a lot, manufacturers said. They also point out that only 5 percent of forest-industry production goes toward toilet paper.
Darby Hoover, a senior resource specialist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, understands the pressure of customer demand but wonders: Do we really need toilet paper to be as soft as it can be, or do we need it just soft enough?
Environmentalists said other countries — particularly in South America, Africa and Asia — seem to be OK with “soft enough.”