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Household Paper Products Buying Guide
A quick guide to strategic product selection



Background

Household paper products including toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissue and paper napkins are everyday items that most of us cannot live without. Unfortunately, the resources most commonly used to produce these products – trees – are a finite resource that, in many cases, are becoming extinct. Half of the earth’s land area used to be covered in trees; now, only one fifth is.

Even when trees are re-planted, there are not enough mature trees to fulfill the demand for wood fiber used to make paper products (it takes 90 years to grow enough wood to produce 1 box of Kleenex, for example). As a result, wood fiber from the world’s few remaining primary and ancient forests is used. For instance, 90% of logging in Canada occurs within primary and old growth forests and 45% of Canada’s Boreal Ancient Forest has been allocated to logging companies (90% of that land is clearcut). The United States is the destination for approximately 80% of these Canadian Boreal products.

Fortunately, some household paper product manufacturers are coming up with innovative ways to make what would otherwise be wasted in a landfill – used office paper for example – into new paper products that are just as effective and sanitary as the others, and reduce our dependence on the earth's forest resources.


Why is forest conservation necessary?


Carbon reservoir

Ancient forests like North America’s Boreal and South America’s Amazon, are of critical importance to all living things, especially to us. The trees and peatlands that make-up these old growth forests comprise one of the world's largest "carbon reservoirs." That is, carbon is stored in the forest and not released into the atmosphere, thus helping stabilize our climate.

Biodiversity

The ancient forest ecosystem also supports a natural food web, complete with large carnivores like bears, wolves and lynx along with thousands of other species of plants, mammals, birds and insects.

Water source

With its wetlands filtering millions of gallons of water each day, the Boreal forest, for example, contains 80% of the Earth's unfrozen freshwater.


What to look for when buying household paper products

  1. Recycled content – higher the percentage, the better
  2. Post-consumer recycled content – higher the percentage, the better
  3. Bleached white without the use of toxic chlorine compounds


Why is post-consumer recycled content better?

Post-consumer recycled material is better than pre-consumer recycled material because it makes use of waste that people have used and disposed of and would otherwise be placed in a landfill. Pre-consumer material has not been used by consumers.


Toilet paper

The following brands make toilet paper that contains 100% recycled content, at least 80% of which is post-consumer recycled material, and do not use toxic chlorine compounds to make the toilet paper white:

  • Green Forest (100% recycled/90% post-consumer)
  • 365 (Whole Foods) (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • April Soft (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Earth Friendly (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Fiesta (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Fiesta Green (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Natural Value (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Seventh Generation (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Trader Joe’s (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)

The following brands make toilet paper that contains 100% recycled content, only 0-30% of which is post-consumer recycled material; and do not use toxic chlorine compounds to make the toilet paper white:

  • Marcal Small Steps (100% recycled/30% post-consumer)
  • Earth First (100% recycled/0% post-consumer)

The following brands make toilet paper that contains 0-40% recycled content, none of which is post-consumer recycled material (with the exception of Scott Naturals) and do use toxic chlorine compounds to make the toilet paper white:

  • Scott Naturals (40% recycled/40% post-consumer)
  • Angel Soft (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Charmin (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Kleenex Cottonelle (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Quilted Northern (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Scott (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Target (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Wal-Mart (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)


Paper towels

The following brands make paper towels that contain 100% recycled content, at least 80% of which is post-consumer recycled material, and do not use toxic chlorine compounds to make their paper towels white:

  • Green Forest (100% recycled/90% post-consumer)
  • 365 (Whole Foods) (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Earth Friendly (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Natural Value (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Seventh Generation (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Trader Joe’s (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Marcal Small Steps (100% recycled/70% post-consumer)
  • CVS Earth Essentials (100% recycled/60% post-consumer)

The following brands make paper towels that contain 100% recycled content, only 0-30% of which is post-consumer recycled material; and do not use toxic chlorine compounds to make their paper towels white:

  • Earth First (100% recycled/0% post-consumer)

The following brands make paper towels that contain 0-20% recycled content, none of which is post-consumer recycled material (with the exception of Scott Naturals), and do use toxic chlorine compounds to make their paper towels white:

  • Scott Naturals (80% recycled/60% post-consumer)
  • Colortex (100% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Bounty (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Brawny (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • CVS (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Scott (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Target (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Viva (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Wal-Mart (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)


Facial tissue

The following brands make facial tissue that contains 100% recycled content, at least 80% of which is post-consumer recycled material, and do not use toxic chlorine compounds to make their facial tissue white:

  • Green Forest (100% recycled/90% post-consumer)
  • 365 (Whole Foods) (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Natural Value (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Seventh Generation (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)

The following brands make facial tissue that contains 100% recycled content, only 0-30% of which is post-consumer recycled material; and do not use toxic chlorine compounds to make their facial tissue white:

  • Marcal Small Steps (100% recycled/30% post-consumer)
  • Trader Joe’s (100% recycled/10% post-consumer)
  • Earth First (100% recycled/0% post-consumer)

The following brands make facial tissue that contains 0-20% recycled content, none of which is post-consumer recycled material (with the exception of Kleenex Naturals) and do use toxic chlorine compounds to make their facial tissue white:

  • Kleenex Naturals (20% recycled/20% post-consumer)
  • CVS (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Kirkland (Costco) (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Kleenex (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Puffs (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Rite Aid (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Target (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Target Ultra (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Wal-Mart (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)


Paper napkins

The following brands make paper napkins that contain 100% recycled content, at least 80% of which is post-consumer recycled material, and do not use toxic chlorine compounds to make their paper napkins white:

  • 365 (Whole Foods) (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Atlantic (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Cascades (100% recycled/51% post-consumer)
  • CVS Earth Essentials (100% recycled/60% post-consumer)
  • Green Forest (100% recycled/90% post-consumer)
  • Marcal Small Steps (100% recycled/70% post-consumer)
  • Natural Value (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)
  • Seventh Generation (100% recycled/80% post-consumer)

The following brands make paper napkins that contain 100% recycled content, only 0-30% of which is post-consumer recycled material; and do not use toxic chlorine compounds to make their paper napkins white:

  • Earth First (100% recycled/0% post-consumer)

The following brands make paper napkins that contain 0-100% recycled content, none of which is post-consumer recycled material, and do use toxic chlorine compounds to make their paper napkins white:

  • Target (100% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Velvet (100% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Kleenex (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Mardi Gras (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Scott (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Vanity Fair (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)
  • Wal-Mart (0% recycled/0% post-consumer)


Questions? Feedback?

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