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soft tissue paper is flushing trees from Canada's ancient forests down the toilet
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Soft toilet paper hard on planet

By Mike De Souza, Canwest News ServiceMarch 2, 2009 6:01 PM



OTTAWA — North American consumers are addicted to ultra soft toilet paper and it's a luxury the planet can no longer afford, says a new international campaign launched by conservation groups.

The environmentalists say regular use of soft tissue paper is flushing trees from Canada's ancient forests down the toilet and causing as much global warming pollution as someone who drives a gas-guzzler.

"Many people don't know what goes into their toilet paper," said Richard Brooks, the forest campaign co-ordinator at Greenpeace Canada. "But if they did, and what we're trying to do is educate the general public about that, we think they would choose an alternative product — one that was made from recycled fibre."

For years, Greenpeace Canada has battled with the maker of Kleenex tissue papers, Kimberly-Clark, urging it to use more recycled material in its products instead of relying on old-growth habitats such as the boreal forest. Greenpeace launched its Canadian campaign in 2004 with its own online consumer guide, tissue.greenpeace.ca, to environmentally sustainable products.

Despite the campaign, Brooks said that more than 90 per cent of tissue products sold in Canada are still made from "virgin" fibres in forests instead of from recycled fibres.

Greenpeace USA and the Natural Resources Defense Council are hoping their own version of the guide, along with their shocking comparisons, will make American consumers start to think about toilet paper longer than the few seconds they take to use them.

"When you look at the global production impacts of the pulp and paper industry, which is the third largest industrial generator of global warming pollution, and you look at the water impacts and the deforestation impacts and the habitat impacts, then you're probably looking at a product that's worse than a Hummer," said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the NRDC.

The environmental groups say they are targeting Kimberly-Clark because it's the largest manufacturer of tissue products in the world and because they have concerns about recent advertising campaigns it's using to brand products as "natural."

A spokesman for Kimberly-Clark called the Greenpeace campaign misleading, explaining that there can be positive or negative impacts for both recycled or virgin fibre products.

"What it comes down to is following responsible sustainable practices, which we do," said Dave Dickson, the company's director of corporate communications.

Dickson said that Kimberly-Clark also makes a wide range of products for offices and restaurants that use recycled fibres. It has also been on top, four years in a row, of a Dow Jones ranking of sustainable companies for personal products.

Meantime, consumers have consistently chosen to spend money for softness and strength that he said only virgin fibres could provide.

But one of Kimberly-Clark's competitors is seeing another trend. Quebec-based Cascades, which specializes in recycled paper products, said its own sales in Canada increased by 300 per cent in 2008.

"We are seeing that the consumer is ready to make a change," said Hubert Bolduc, vice-president of public affairs at Cascades.

Bolduc said the Cascades brand, which is well-known in Quebec, is starting to break through in the rest of Canada, and is shattering some of the myths about quality and affordability of greener products.

mdesouza<P>canwest.com
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service

Want To Save 40,000 Trees? Buy Recycled Toilet Paper
Buy smart! Learn the most -- and least -- sustainable brands selling paper towels, tissues and toilet paper.
March 2, 2009 at 8:53AM by Diane MacEachern

Charmin, Kleenex Cottonelle, Quilted Northern and Scott are among the toilet papers and tissues that do the most harm to forests and the environment, according to a new report by Greenpeace.

The non-profit research group evaluated dozens of brands of toilet paper, facial tissue, paper, towels and napkins according to three criteria:

1.

How much recycled content they contained
Using 100% recycled content helps protect forests because it significantly reduces the demand for trees, especially trees coming from native forests.
2.

How much of that was post-consumer waste
To get the top ranking, at least 50% post-consumer waste needed to be used in manufacturing the product.
3.

How the paper was bleached
The top-ranked products are not bleached using chlorine, which can create the toxic byproduct dioxin.

According to Greenpeace, Americans could save more than 400,000 trees if each family bought a roll of recycled toilet paper — just once.

The group has produced a pocket guide you can use when you shop to buy the most eco-friendly option.
Top-rated Paper Product Brands
* Green Forest
* 365 Whole Planet (available at Whole Foods)
* CVS Earth Essentials
* Seventh Generation
* Trader Joe's
* Cascades

Of course, when it comes to napkins and towels, use cloth, and avoid the paper debate altogether.

They Say: Toilet Paper Usage Worse For The Environment Than Driving A Hummer?!
Posted by Shannon LC Cate at 7:15 AM on March 3, 2009

Ah potty-training! There are so many benefits to convincing your kids to use the potty. Big savings on the expense of nappies and wipes–whatever type you use. And then there’s the eco-guilt factor. When cloth nappies probably harm the environment by using excessive water and detergent (and possibly chlorine bleach, depending on your own proclivities), and disposable nappies are all but considered the highest form of environmental sin known to the first world, getting the kids into underwear and onto the potty lets you off the hook, right?

Wait just a minute, say environmental experts. According to Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“Future generations are going to look at the way we make toilet paper as one of the greatest excesses of our age. Making toilet paper from virgin wood is a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution.”

According to an article in the Guardian, Americans have a dangerous proclivity for what the Brits term “luxury” t.p.–those with two or (gasp!) three “plys,” quilting, and even lotion infused in the roll. These varieties are the worst sinners when it comes to decimating virgin forest.

My roll of choice has always been one of the very simple, single-ply, 1000-sheet varieties. A friend with a cruder sense of humour than I calls it “John Wayne toilet paper” because, according to him, it’s “rough and tough and don’t take s–t off anybody.” I like my t.p., personally, but alas, it is not made of recycled paper. Not one bit of it.

Who knew?

If you’re curious about the effect your roll has on the planet, Greenpeace has helpfully created a PDF that you can conveniently print, clip, fold and carry around in your wallet to spot-check any paper product you’re thinking of buying. Unfortunately, it would seem that the “good” brands cost more than some of the “bad” brands (though not all). I suppose I will swap out my virgin 1000-sheet choice for a recycled option, but probably not 100% of the time. I just can’t resist the bargain of buying 20 rolls for that low, low price.

What do you think? Does your toilet paper choice merit reconsideration, given the scorn of the Europeans for “delicate American buttocks” or will you just teach your kids to chant “USA!” as they reach for the Charmin?



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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http://www.theregister.co.uk/2..._report_translation/

First above is alink to a UK news paper about JSER scientists refuting the UN's view on global warming being caused by human emissions.

Second I have used TP in several forigh countries and public restrooms in the US and found that I do not like splinters or sand paper texture on my bum and I am male. Lord what that stuff does to a female's annatomy, ouch!


Proprietor of The Blunderbuss muzzle loading gun shop. Member of Denver Biodiesel CO-OP.

 
Location: lakewood, Co. | Registered: February 15, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
I have used TP in several forigh countries and public restrooms in the US and found that I do not like splinters or sand paper texture on my bum and I am male. Lord what that stuff does to a female's annatomy, ouch!

So? are you illogically assuming that all recycled source TP is "splinters or sand paper texture" ?

same 'logic' in action:
quote:
there are reports of biodiesel causing problems, we shouldn't use it



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by jdfoxinc:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2..._report_translation/

First above is alink to a UK news paper about JSER scientists refuting the UN's view on global warming being caused by human emissions.



Interestingly enough these "scientists" are from the Energy sector that reports to the government for policy

quote:
JSER is the academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields, and acts as a government advisory panel.


I have to wonder if they could prepare a proper report for any scientific journal ,provide the data to back up their claims and let it stand up to proper scrutiny by their peers.

maybe that's why it has garnered little attention


21 years off the grid and counting

 
Location: Muskoka, Ont, Can | Registered: March 23, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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WTF does that have to do with wiping yer ass with virgin forests?



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Those ultrasoft multi-ply papers cause problems inseptic systems too .
 
Registered: November 08, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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There are fast growing agricultural trees that can be planted and harvested like any crop, which yields high quality pulp for paper production. Their use is widespread in Asia. Albizia falcataria Kenaf

Likewise the Japanese have been making paper from kudzu and knotweed for ages. Both are present in America and labeled as pests. How much forest can you save by harvesting these 'weeds'?

Unless and until chopping down old growth forest becomes more expensive than farming fast growing fibre species, there will be little incentive to switch sources.


Big(Bio)Bertha 1987 GMC Suburban V2500 6.2L V8 IDI J-code 3/4Ton 4x4 4in lift, cargo hauler.
Brunhilde 1985 Merc 300TD, commuter
1968 Caterpillar D4D 3304 bulldozer
1971 Waldon 4100 payloader
1981 IHI 30F crawler excavator
1995 Changfa 195 w/ ST 10kw genset
 
Registered: December 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Unless and until chopping down old growth forest becomes more expensive than farming fast growing fibre species, there will be little incentive to switch sources.

Nope, that's the old "It's beyond my control" cop out to do nothing.
Canadians have good quality, two-ply, soft, inexpensive, recycled source TP in stores all across the country. That's because consumers created the demand by buying the products when they were first available.

This is how it's marketed
quote:
Recycled tissue products are just as sanitary as those made from virgin pulp and require 40% less energy to be produced .

If every household in Canada replaced 1 roll of virgin toilet paper with 1 roll of recycled toilet paper we could save thousands of trees for more highly valued uses. And we discovered that we could help reduce the amount of wasted packaging by offering our 100% recycled PC Green Bathroom Tissue and PC Green Pick-a-Size Paper Towels in double rolls only. With twice the tissue, you won’t have to make as many trips back to the store.


There is a huge amount of good quality recycled paper generated by offices every day, it's cheaper than harvesting virgin forests. Nothing changes until people get their heads out of their butts and become personally responsible.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by john galt:

Nope, that's the old "It's beyond my control" cop out to do nothing.
Canadians have good quality, two-ply, soft, inexpensive, recycled source TP in stores all across the country. That's because consumers created the demand by buying the products when they were first available.


That is not a cop out. You will note that I did not disagree with your statement regarding recycled paper tissue. I think it is a good idea to use recycled paper. However, recycled paper comes from used virgin paper, which is made from, you guessed it, chopping down trees. If the primary source could also be switched to a sustainable agricultural base instead of unsustainable logging of old growth, that would be good, no? And if the Asians can do it, why can't we?


Big(Bio)Bertha 1987 GMC Suburban V2500 6.2L V8 IDI J-code 3/4Ton 4x4 4in lift, cargo hauler.
Brunhilde 1985 Merc 300TD, commuter
1968 Caterpillar D4D 3304 bulldozer
1971 Waldon 4100 payloader
1981 IHI 30F crawler excavator
1995 Changfa 195 w/ ST 10kw genset
 
Registered: December 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That's assuming that N.Americans will consume less virgin paper. So far there's no sign of that happening. The average office generates more recyclable paper than the families of all the employees use for TP. The best thing to do NOW is use that paper to make TP.

It would be great if paper was made from Kudzu instead of Canada's boreal forest.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've been in numerous mining and logging operations in SE Asia for a heavy equipment leasing firm. I can relate to you an interesting example from their implemented policies which have a direct bearing on this subject. Back in the late '80s, there was an entire village that was wiped out by landslides in the Philippines, caused by mudslides from logged out hills. This was but the most extreme case among many, which prompted a popular backlash and caused the government to ban logging. Not curtail or penalize or raise taxes. Just banned it outright. Took them decades to stop illegal logging activities. However, during that time period there was still massive demand for paper. And when there is demand, there will be those who will supply it to make a buck. Capitalism is alive and well, and recycled paper use shot up. And within a few years, local agriculturally produced wood pulp farms caught up. Made lots of new wealthy farmers producing so much sustainable wood pulp that they started exporting them to Taiwan in container shiploads. They also expanded the uses to making wood veneer, plywood, MDF and OSB boards. They also made laminated structural struts in place of 2x4s, which were sturdier, could be engineered to desired loads, and were much more resistant to the ferocious typhoons and voracious termites they have there. (though you wouldn't want to know what highly toxic chemicals they impregnated those laminates with to kill bugs)

Pulp paper plantations are also set up in Indonesia, Malaysia and China.

Supply and demand. Capitalism. It works. It saved their forests, massively increased recycling, produced new industries, and is profitable. For those that participate in it. For the heavy equipment industry providing machinery to the logging industry, it was a catastrophe. So I moved to mining and civil engineering contracts instead. Good thing the company was light on its feet and we started providing Chinese made plywood and laminate making machines and partnered with several new plywood factories. They leased our equipment to build the factories near farmland, of course.


Big(Bio)Bertha 1987 GMC Suburban V2500 6.2L V8 IDI J-code 3/4Ton 4x4 4in lift, cargo hauler.
Brunhilde 1985 Merc 300TD, commuter
1968 Caterpillar D4D 3304 bulldozer
1971 Waldon 4100 payloader
1981 IHI 30F crawler excavator
1995 Changfa 195 w/ ST 10kw genset
 
Registered: December 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Interesting article...

Somehow they seem to jump between "Virgin Fibers" and "Virgin Forests".

TWO VASTLY DIFFERENT CONCEPTS.

And, you can imagine why... it is much easier to get people to jump on the "Virgin Forest" bandwagon than the "Virgin Fiber" bandwagon.

The alternative is to just bring your newspaper with you as you are heading into the bathroom... and then "recycle" it when you're done. Eek Perhaps I'll send the suggestion to Greenpeace!!! Big Grin

Anybody ever try one of these "self washing" toilet seats?



Toto Seats SW554 12 Sedona Beige Washlet S300 Toilet Seat
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Combination toilets with bidet functions are very popular in Japan and South Korea, and are present in 60% or more of households and in the majority of hotels. You do your business on a heated seat, then it washes and dries your rear end with a spray nozzle and warm air. No paper used, and it is much more sanitary than using TP. Easier on the elderly and those with spinal injuries or the handicapped. Undoubtedly someone will do a computation to show whether the energy used is more or less harmful to the environment than TP.


Big(Bio)Bertha 1987 GMC Suburban V2500 6.2L V8 IDI J-code 3/4Ton 4x4 4in lift, cargo hauler.
Brunhilde 1985 Merc 300TD, commuter
1968 Caterpillar D4D 3304 bulldozer
1971 Waldon 4100 payloader
1981 IHI 30F crawler excavator
1995 Changfa 195 w/ ST 10kw genset
 
Registered: December 31, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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How many times to you re-use your toilet paper?

I like to take mine... carefully lay it out... wash it... and re-use it 3 times before it begins to loose its integrity.

I then use it one last time, and put it out on the curb with my paper recycling.

Unfortunately, the garbage man refuses to pick it up for recycling!!!!!!!!

Ok..
With toilet paper, it is used once, and is then flushed down the toilet.

So...
Say you have 100,000 tons of paper products.
10,000 tons of toilet paper that gets used once and flushed.

So, that leaves one with 90,000 tons of paper that could be recycled in an ideal world. Say 100% of that paper is recycled.

Then because 10,000 tons of paper products were flushed down the toilet, one must still must replace at least 10,000 tons of paper products with "virgin fibers", be it from recycled pallets, chipped up 2x4's or newly cut timber.

It really doesn't matter whether your Toilet paper is made from "virgin fibers" or recycled paper. Because it was used once and flushed down the toilet, the gross quantity of paper fibers must be replaced somehow.

Now, we're not in an "ideal world".

In fact, out of that 100,000 tons of paper products (very off the wall estimates)...
10,000 tons we used for TP.
10,000 tons for Starbucks cups (which were also thrown away).
8,000 tons for cereal boxes (of which 2,000 tons get recycled).
2,000 tons for tin can labels, virtually none gets recycled.
20,000 tons for cardboard boxes and other bulk packaging (of which 10,000 tons get recycled).
25,000 tons for newspapers, magazines, and junk mail (of which 15,000 tons get recycled).
5,000 tons for phonebooks (of which 3,000 tons get recycled).
20,000 tons for "office paper" (of which 10,000 tons get recycled)
-------------------------------------------
100,000 tons paper products, 40,000 tons get recycled (probably a high estimate for recycling).

So, not only do we have to replace the 10,000 tons of TP with "virgin fibers", but we also have to replace the 10,000 tons of Starbucks cups with virgin paper, as well as half of the rest of the stuff.

I've estimated about 40,000 tons of recycling (again, probably a high estimate).

So, where should we use these "recycled fibers".
We could just flush them down the toilet.

But,
If we get good utilization of putting them back into newspapers, phone books, and cardboard boxes... and it is cheap to do it since people are happy with less bleaching and more defects in the paper, then wouldn't that be a better utilization of the recycled fibers? No matter where the recycled fibers are utilized, we still have to replace 60,000 tons of paper products utilizing "virgin fibers".

Really the only reason to force people to use the recycled fibers in Toilet Paper would be if the recycling program is so effective that we began to loose integrity of the paper due to old fibers....

Actually, I wonder if that is why some of the Chinese and Indian cardboard boxes are so lousy that they just crumble. They are probably buying up the rest of the world's recycled paper fibers and shipping them back out in recycled cardboard boxes.

So...
How could we truly save the trees?
  • Use cloth napkins rather than paper napkins at home.
  • Use a wash rag rather than a paper towel at home.
  • Use ceramic mugs rather than paper and foam mugs at restaurants.
  • Use cloth napkins and placemats (or no placemats) at the restaurants. And, don't steal souvenir napkins.
  • Avoid "Drive-Up" lines at your restaurants.
  • Bring your own coffee mug to the local mini-mart for a refill.
  • Outlaw those "rag" newspapers that typically go straight into the trash.
  • Replace Newspapers and magazines with Electronic versions of News Media.
  • Outlaw JUNK MAIL, and unsolicited mailings.
  • E-Bill payments
  • Paper Reduction at work. Only print vital archival copies of documents.
If we can cut down on the raw paper products being used, we would make much more headway with reducing our usage of raw paper products. Then, of course, also increase our recycling.

Perhaps this is dating me a bit... but the last time I was in Italy, I liked to hit up the Espresso shops.
But, unlike Starbucks... I wasn't given a single paper cup.
All Espressos, Cappuccinos, and etc were distributed in ceramic mugs. And, one was expected to drain the mug before leaving the shop.
I'm trying to think back, it has been a while, but I think even in the little overcrowded 10x10 corner shops... one was handed a mug, drank the coffee and gave the mugs back.

Finally,
In the country, how much wood fiber just gets torched with backyard burning since we don't have effective collection and recycling
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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With all due respect the important point was missed. At the present time a large amount of TP is made from trees directly. Old growth boreal forest is clearcut just to wipe yer ass. It makes more sense to make good quality, soft TP from used office paper, for example, since it's already been used once. Making TP from recycled paper uses LESS ENERGY, creates LESS POLLUTION, and allows the trees to be used for something else like building houses or maybe not cut down at all.

All the ways of using less paper listed in the message above are all good practices, just like making TP from recycled paper. Do both.

I never use paper cups, I've carried my own mug for years, long before it became fashionably trendy. I don't use paper towels, a cellulose sponge works better. Most of the paper conserving practices listed above are just the normal way of doing things as far as I'm concerned.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My point is that I would imagine that 100% of the used paper that gets to the paper recyclers gets reused... somewhere.

So... assuming some paper is consumed,
then we need to add NEW WOOD from some source.

If you use toilet paper from recycled paper.
Then you will get newspaper from NEW WOOD.

Old Growth timber is a separate issue.

Quality, tight grained wood will not be used for making toilet paper. It is too valuable.

However, many of the old growth trees have rot & cracks, and etc which would decrease their value as timber. And, thus they go to making TP.

Here in the USA, another problem is that many of the newer mills are no longer capable of handling 6 foot diameter trees.

Anyway, over-logging & deforestation has been a problem here in the USA, and I imagine in Canada too.

Are these "old growth" forests on public or private land? Assuming it is public, the government should be able to just stop the sales of old growth timber, and continue to FARM the 2nd and 3rd growth forests. They just need to plan for a sustainable crop rotation.
 
Location: Oregon | Registered: October 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
I would imagine that 100% of the used paper that gets to the paper recyclers gets reused... somewhere.

Not all the used paper gets to the recyclers.

quote:
Quality, tight grained wood will not be used for making toilet paper. It is too valuable.

You'd think so, but that's not the case. The companies that use it to make TP like Charmin clear cut the whole block, they don't care about anything but profit.

quote:
Are these "old growth" forests on public or private land? Assuming it is public, the government should be able to just stop the sales of old growth timber
Crown land. Big money owns politicians, as in the US, what 'should' be done is often far removed from what actually gets done.



 
Location: coldest N.America | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Kleenx is a hugh purveyor of using old growth forest for nose and ass wipes.

Yet another reason to legalize hemp (and marijuana while they're at it). Hemp produces something like 9 times the pulp that a comparable acre of trees produces. Plus it can be re-grown annually.


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