Unravelling the Story Behind the Bathroom Tissue That You Buy

8/10/2012 By Glenn Hasek

How much thought do you put into your purchase of bathroom tissue (toilet paper)? I am in the middle of doing research for an article on bathroom tissue and am learning that there is a lot to consider regarding the environmental impact of a roll of TP—from how it is made to what its ingredients are and where those ingredients come from. Really, do you use any screening process whatsoever when buying TP? I would love to know.

Eric Ricaurte, writing for HotelNewsNow.com, recently cited a World Wildlife Fund Report that found that some toilet paper sold here in the United States that ends up in hotels and restaurants can be linked to destruction of tropical forests on the other side of the world. As the CEO of one paper company told me this past week, be skeptical of product made outside of North America. Do you know where the bathroom tissue you purchase is made?

Certification certainly provides some assurance when buying bathroom tissue. Do you know which ones to look for? Green Seal, EcoLogo and Processed Chlorine Free are a few that were mentioned by several of the leading paper manufacturers as being credible and strict when it comes to environmental responsibility.

Most commercial lines today are made primarily from recycled fibers—often 100 percent recycled. It is much easier and less energy intensive to create tissue from recycled content than virgin fibers (trees). Does going recycled mean sacrificing quality for your guests? Absolutely not. Tissue made from recycled fibers can be every bit as soft as that made from virgin fibers, according to Joe Tadeo, CEO, Atlas Paper Mills.

Unbleached & Beige

Interestingly, earlier this year Cascades Tissue Group launched a new line of bathroom tissue called Cascades Moka. Beige in color because it is unbleached, Moka is made from 100 percent recycled content. I intend to chat with the folks at Cascades Tissue Group this week about Moka but I would like to know from you whether or not you would include a non-white roll of TP in your guestroom bathroom. Is the TP roll a place you want guests to know about your environmental commitment? I think Moka is a great idea but I would love to know what you think. Cascades Tissue Group says the Moka line is doing well and just announced that it is expanding it—literally actually, to jumbo roll size.

As green as making tissue from pre and post consumer recycled paper can be, there is a byproduct of the deinking process that has to be dealt with. Ask your suppliers what they do with that. Manufacturers are finding a home for it—whether in concrete or as a supplement to add to farm fields.

Speaking of pre and post consumer recycled content, don’t get too hung up on whether or not more pre or post content is included. There is a lot of pre consumer paper available for reuse that needs to be diverted from landfills—newspaper overruns is one example. “The issue is to divert valuable fiber from the landfill,” says Dan Silk, vice president of sustainability for Georgia-Pacific.

Be sure to look for my article on bathroom tissue this coming week. Also, be sure to write to me to let me know how you decide which brand of bathroom tissue to buy. And, if you have had any bad experiences with tissue made from recycled content, I would also love to know that as well. I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.

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