The Paper Industry BlowsJanuary 12, 2023 · Monika Harah
27.000 trees (give or take) are flushed down the drain every day. That’s how many trees are needed daily in toilet and tissue paper production. Forests are disappearing to meet the demand. Massive amounts of water and energy are required in the manufacturing process. In addition, the process of manufacturing and distributing tissues generates a significant amount of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change.
Deforestation is closely linked to this industry. It is a massive ecological threat, and the destruction of important forests, such as the Canadian Boreal forest, is a direct consequence of using virgin wood fiber. This impacts the planet, the climate, and the wildlife, as well as local indigenous communities.
But paper tissues are not just bad for the environment. Have you ever associated that soft, white, and fluffy paper with risks to your health? To make the paper this dreamy, thousands of chemicals are used, some of which are actually quite harmful to humans. Chlorine is one of the worst, and it’s often used to make the paper so white and sparkling. It can penetrate your skin barrier and enter your body where it does a lot of damage. In fact, studies have shown it is a carcinogenic substance. Chlorine also reacts with organic molecules, creating many toxic byproducts like dioxin and furan.
So what can you do as a consumer? Opt for natural, unbleached paper made from recycled materials. Look at the latest sustainability scorecard from NRDC’s “The Issue with Tissue” report. A bunch of brands are listed and scored making it easy for consumers to see if their brand of choice is better or worse for the planet.
For tissue paper that you use to blow your nose, chose reusable options, like LastTissue. It is made from organic cotton that is GOTS certified and can be used up to 500 times.