Toilet paper may be in sustainable supply these days, but it’s dependance on the environment has not changed in relevance. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), over 27,000 trees are cut down daily to make toilet paper. Currently, the highest grossing toilet paper company is the Proctor and Gamble company (P&G) followed by Charmin and Scott. As such, the P&G company has received straight F’s by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) for its “non-eco friendly impact on wildlife and forests”.
“Industry laggards like P&G are fueling a tree-to-toilet pipeline that is flushing away some of the most environmentally important — and threatened — forests in the world,” says NRDC’s Natural Climate Solutions Policy Manager Jennifer Skene, “Turning them into toilet paper is a climate crime, especially when done by the very companies that most need to step up to protect our future.”
What sets P&G apart from other toilet paper is the setting of it’s retrieval of toilet paper. According to the NRDC, the company uses trees from the Canadian Boreal Forest which “is responsible for over 30% of all carbon and other non-renewable resources in the world”. Furthermore, the Boreal Forest is home to numerous endangered species including sloths and polar bears. “Over a million acres worth of the Boreal Forest are chopped down annually for toilet paper”, says Skene.
The NRDC is encouraging companies to switch to alternate materials such as bamboo and fiber for it’s products. Seventh Generation brand, for example, has received an A rating for it’s “substantially sourced toilet paper”. “Bamboo has a smaller environmental footprint than virgin forest fiber but a larger footprint than recycled fiber and some agricultural residues like wheat straw”, says Skene.
Regardless of the material used, however, Skene cannot emphasize enough the impact toilet paper is creating on the climate crisis. “Turning trees into toilet paper is a ‘climate crime especially when committed by the same companies we need to step up out future”. Only citizens can “flush” these dangers down the drain.
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