Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Green Toilet Paper Shopping Guide

The number of options in the toilet paper aisle is enough to make even the savviest consumer's head spin. Here are a few things to consider when seeking the eco-friendliest bath, or other tissue product, available to you.

Is it made from recycled paper?
You have a butt so lovely it could break hearts, but it isn't worth ripping up a forest. Avoid virgin fibers. Choose bathroom tissue made from the highest percentage recycled paper with the highest content of post-consumer waste (PCW) you can find.

Seventh Generation Bath Tissue: 100% recycled with minimum 50% PCW content. Bleached without chlorine. Good stuff!

Has it been whitened with chlorine?
Chlorine bleaching produces toxins which have harmful effects on wildlife and people. Look for tissue products that are "totally chlorine free" or, second best, "processed chlorine free." "Elemental chlorine free" is a label put on products that are whitened with chlorine derivatives like chlorine dioxide. These chemicals are still toxic, but less toxic than chlorine.

FSC Seal
Is it FSC approved?
Can't find recycled toilet paper? Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal of approval. This label means that the virgin fibers come from forests managed to the highest environmental and social standards.

I love that Marcal is an affordable brand that's been committed to using recycled content since the 1950s.  I wish the label weren't so vague about PCW content, but it's a good choice that's widely available, even at bodegas.
Wondering how your favorite toilet paper compares to others?
Check out this chart from Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC): Environmental Ratings of Household Tissue Paper Products. (I'm not sure how up-to-date it is.)

Unbleached flannel cotton baby wipes available at CottonBabies. Suitable for adult rears too!

Have you considered not using toilet paper?
The WWF reports that every day about 270,000 trees are flushed down the drain or end up as garbage all over the world. Yes, that's all our toilet tissue, paper towels, napkins, and facial tissue. Yikes! What if we all just stopped using tissue paper? Got a bidet? No. Well, in the developing world they wipe with the left hand then wash superduper well. I'm not ready to go there, but switching to cloth wipes seems like a reasonable idea.

Olivia Lane is a Blogger, Green Living Educator, and Health Coach trained at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She's also author of Baking Soda & Bliss: The Healthy & Happy Guide to Green Cleaning 

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  1. hi olivia. i just linked this post to my blog ENERGYATHOME on wordpress. invaluable information. keep up the good work!

    1. thanks for sharing! i'm also really happy you discovered my blog because now I know about yours! yippeee! hugs!



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