Toilet paper issues

April 10, 2007 at 12:50 pm 13 comments

Tree free? What about chlorine?This is just a short post about my full-of-indecisions and enviro-dilemmas sustainable-attempt of a life. I recently purchased my first ever pack of recycled toilet paper… Which is all well and good, but now I am wondering if it is really better for the environment if I buy the said paper.

You see, when I buy a package of regular virginal toilet paper, it’s normally never less than 12 rolls, wrapped in plastic. The thing is, because recycled paper is so unusual, I always have to buy it in small packs of 4. So if I buy 3 packs of recycled toilet paper, I produce around 2 times more plastic waste (I emphasize that here it’s not possible to recycle plastic) than if I buy a 12-pack.

The package brags about being made out of polyethylene plastic, and therefore free of evil PVC. However, what concerns me is that not only there is no mention of the post-consumer content, as there is no mention of the bleaching method. Since nothing is said about oxygen bleaching, I can only assume that this paper was chlorine bleached, which is about as nasty as it gets. Details about recycling paper and the nastiness of bleaching can be found here and here, for example.

And so, my friends, while I don’t find any other kinds of recycled paper, I think I am going to keep using trees… I have to say this is not an easy decision to make, and I appreciate any input anyone has on this matter.

Entry filed under: consumption, environment, paper, recycling, shopping, waste. Tags: .

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Caroline in NH  |  April 10, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    Any other options for recycled TP? I know in my local (well, as local as it gets out here in the middle of nowhere) supermarket carries at least one brand in the “natural and organics” section, and another (that I prefer) in the regular paper products section. Products from the Organics section are not always the best deal!

  • 2. gettinggreen  |  April 10, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    Hee hee, Kringloop! I love the Euro brands… My suggestion in this case is to simply use less of whatever TP you go with. So often we just rip off a whole yard of the stuff for just one wipe, when really we could easily get away with just using a square. Conscientious wiping; that’s what I say!

  • 3. river2sea72  |  April 11, 2007 at 2:55 am

    If you can get it, I highly recommend Seventh Generation’s 1-ply 1000-sheet-per-roll 100% recycled (80% post-consumer) toilet tissue. It comes individually wrapped in recycled/recyclable paper and is whitened with non-chlorine bleach.

  • 4. Alina  |  April 11, 2007 at 11:20 am

    Thanks for your suggestions. So far the best thing I found here was the Kringloop (which means… recycled! how original). I’m still going to see what they have at the health shops shops around town. I already cut down on the number of sheets I use, but just one square is a stretch…

  • 5. Lori V.  |  April 12, 2007 at 2:07 am

    I agree with Sara; if you can find Seventh Generation, get it. I can even get it in 12-packs (bought one today, as a matter of fact). I don’t know how often you buy online, but drugstore dot com has Seventh Gen. products, as well as a great selection of other all-natural products!

  • 6. Sustainable is Good  |  April 12, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    I’d recommend you check out Marcal Softpac or their other toilet paper. Its recycled and inexpensive compared to brands like Seventh Generation. Softpac is avail in large quantities of 12+ rolls.

    I posted on Marcal back in Feb on my blog check it out


  • 7. Alina  |  April 13, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    Sorry guys. I have deleted your links because your blog seems too commercial for my taste and I will not support your attempts to make money by using innocent little blogs like mine for self-promotion.

  • 8. deliberately  |  April 15, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    I was having similar thoughts in my post here. We just started using the recycled toilet paper as well and are trying Wild Oats house brand that is 50% post consumer. I like the Seventh Generation idea in another comment, just because it is 80% post consumer. Good luck with your efforts, and remember that even if there is still some plastic involved, it’s much better than TP that requires cutting trees.

  • 9. Gwyn  |  April 16, 2007 at 9:16 am

    If only you lived in Australia – we can buy recycled, unbleached tp in recycled paper packaging for cheaper than the leading brands. IN my opinion though, it is important to support the recycling industry on principle even if they are not 100% what you are hoping for. Of course, there is always cloth…!!!

  • 10. P. Beyer  |  February 25, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    (sorry for the length; warning)

    alina, as long as you do mail order, on- or off-line, you can find many which aren’t wrapped in plastic. So far I haven’t found cheaper than – delete this link if you like but all I want is to give and get word of the best options. Eg., tho’ the price on Greenline seems the best (yrs ago when I checked, and can’t recheck every time!), I’m not sure if EcoSoft, which is about their only tp choice, is really as environmental as 7th Generation – but its specs, including the pcw and the bleaching method, seem to say so. So anybody tell me. I named Greenline because I haven’t seen them in any other threads, which seems unfair considering their prices and the specs apparently equal to Seventh Gen. These little companies have a hard time to survive!

    (1) Mail-order options solve the problems you mentioned (eg. plastic wrap and bleach method), and the mail-order prices, at least Greenline’s, make shipping the issue. THIS MEANS people should order for at least the whole year AND get other people to order with them, which builds community — Even two people is the beginning of an alternatives community or village, which is our only hope! (re which, see my “IVAL” site above, though it’s not ready yet).
    (2) Great that you reminded us it’s not just about cutting trees but reducing chlorine in the rivers+, and gave a good link which puts the chlorine problem above all. Important to tell others who think of it in terms of trees only.

  • […] our environment. i mean, don’t those fuzzy wuzzies get stuck up there anyway?wipe for naturetoilet paper issues from closet […]

  • […] our environment. i mean, don’t those fuzzy wuzzies get stuck up there anyway?wipe for naturetoilet paper issues from closet […]

  • 13. amy  |  April 26, 2009 at 6:39 am

    hey watz up this website is great

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April 2007

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