Americans may have come to the point where average consumers frown upon Hummers, but for some reason, we draw the line at toilet paper. We believe so strongly in three-ply and cottony softness that many of us equate recycled toilet paper with cardboard. Toilet paper pushers from Kimberly Clark to Georgia Pacific tout the higher quality of their soft papers and sales for the high end brands like Charmin Ultra and Quilted Northern Ultra have increased by 40% in some markets, according to a recent NY Times article.
Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defence Council are fighting back with campaigns to get Americans to consider the toll of using luxury toilet paper. Greenpeace last week issued a national guide for consumers ranking the toilet tissue brands on the basis of their environmental impact. The guide is available for downloading here.
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. The NRDC's position is that no forest of any kind should be used to make toilet paper and Hershkowitz wants to see toilet paper go the way of incandescent light bulbs – out of the mainstream.
But it may be a hard sell. 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.”
Slowly the message is getting out. At the Kodak Theater last week during the Oscars, all the bathrooms were equipped with only 100% recycled paper. If it's good enough for Mickey Rourke's behind, it should be good enough for yours.
Via Guardian, NRDC
Image Via NY Times
written by Magnulus, March 12, 2009
written by S P Arif Sahari Wibowo, March 12, 2009
written by Louis, February 23, 2010
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