Earth Day 2012: T.P.-Everyone Uses It

This tip is part of San Diego Coastkeeper’s Earth Day blog series running through April 22, 2012.

It’s a battle. Every day I watch people guzzle out of single-use plastic water bottles, throw cigarette butts out their car window, fail to pick up after their dogs and nonchalantly opt for plastic bags at check-out at the grocery store.
Things are getting better. We recycle. We bring our reusable bags to the store more often. We use Brita filters and “bottling our own” (a favorite Coastkeeper saying).  And these “green victories” are incredibly rewarding.
My most recent “green victory” has to do with toilet paper. It’s ok, you can laugh. I mentioned to someone that I used post-consumer recycled toilet paper – and no, that doesn’t mean that it’s made from previously used toilet paper. Come on, people, think about all the other paper products we use and recycle.
This article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/feb/26/toilet-roll-america) claims that 98% of American toilet paper is made from virgin forests. In other words, only 2% of toilet paper in this country contains recycled paper. But this study (http://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/gtissue.asp) from Natural Resources Defense Council claims that “If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber toilet paper (500 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 423,900 trees.”
In those terms, it’s a pretty simple decision to make. Switch to just one roll of toilet paper with recycled content and save hundreds of thousands of trees. Imagine if you switched every roll! The Seventh Generation brand (Grist’s top pick (http://grist.org/living/the-wipe-stuff/)) is available at most grocery stores. You can find a comprehensive list of recycled brands and how they measure up to each other here (http://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/tissueguide/ratings.aspx?paper=toilet+paper).
Back to the victory: the next week I went to that someone’s house  and, to my surprise and delight, found the bathroom well-stocked with post-consumer recycled toilet paper. Looks like my message had hit home, and now one more person is doing their part to save some trees.
But why stop at toilet paper?! There are all kinds of paper products that are made with recycled content. Take a look at your options the next time you go to the grocery store. Switching paper products is a small, simple step toward sustainability.
 

It’s a battle. Every day I watch people guzzle out of single-use plastic water bottles, throw cigarette butts out their car window, fail to pick up after their dogs and nonchalantly opt for plastic bags at check-out at the grocery store.Things are getting better. We recycle. We bring our reusable bags to the store more often. We use water filters and “bottling our own” (a favorite Coastkeeper saying).  And these “green victories” are incredibly rewarding. 

 
My most recent “green victory” has to do with toilet paper. It’s ok, you can laugh. I mentioned to someone that I use post-consumer recycled toilet paper – and no, that doesn’t mean that it’s made from previously used toilet paper. Come on, people, think about all the other paper products we use and recycle.

This article claims that 98% of American toilet paper is made from virgin forests. In other words, only 2% of toilet paper in this country contains recycled paper. But this study from Natural Resources Defense Council claims that “If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber toilet paper (500 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 423,900 trees.”

In those terms, it’s a pretty simple decision to make. Switch just one roll of toilet paper to the recycled stuff and save hundreds of thousands of trees. And imagine if people switched out more than just one roll.

Back to the victory: the next week I went to that someone’s house and, to my surprise and delight, found the bathroom well-stocked with post-consumer recycled toilet paper. Looks like my message hit home, and now one more person is doing their part to save some trees. The Seventh Generation brand (Grist’s top pick) is available at most grocery stores. You can find a comprehensive list of recycled brands and how they measure up to each other here.

But why stop at toilet paper?! There are all kinds of paper products that are made with recycled content. Take a look at your options the next time you go to the grocery store. Switching paper products is a small, simple step toward sustainability.

 

 

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