I was listening to the radio program The World yesterday and one item struck me as barely credible. It said that Americans are the heaviest users of toilet paper. That itself was not surprising because Americans in general consume a lot more per person than most other parts of the world. But what was shocking was that Americans use three rolls of toilet paper per person per week!
Can that really be true? I know that our household comes nowhere close to using at that rate because I am the person who purchases it.
But apparently that is the case. What is worse is that the report said that the major manufacturers of toilet paper in the US refuse to use recycled paper for it, choosing instead to use virgin forests from the boreal forests in Canada, depleting them at a massive rate.
The NRDC/Stand.earth report features a sustainability-based scorecard for at-home tissue brands, assigning “F” grades to such leading U.S. toilet paper brands as Charmin, Quilted Northern, and Angel Soft. Brands using recycled paper content, including 365, Seventh Generation, and Natural Value were among those awarded “A” grades in the report. The NRDC/Stand.earth scorecard also ranks facial tissues and paper towels.
Anthony Swift, director, Canada Project, NRDC, said: “Most Americans probably do not know that the toilet paper they flush away comes from ancient forests, but clear-cutting those forests is costing the planet a great deal. Maintaining the Canadian boreal forest is vital to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.”
Charmin, the nation’s leading toilet paper brand made by Procter & Gamble, is specifically called out for refusing to increase its use of recycled materials.
The Canadian boreal is a vast landscape of coniferous, birch, and aspen trees. It contains some of the last of the world’s remaining intact forests, and is home to over 600 Indigenous communities, as well as boreal caribou, pine marten, and billions of songbirds. The loss of intact boreal forest is impacting Indigenous Peoples’ ways of life and driving the decline of caribou and other species.
We long ago shifted to using brands that use recycled paper because it seems silly to use high quality paper for such a purpose.