Recycled Paper Products Green - Our Daily Green

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Recycled Paper Products Green

One of the standing "ewww" factors and jokes in Our Daily Green's house is that we will do away with toilet paper. Remember, Our Daily Green aims for 80%. As much as No Impact Man inspired us, we're not foregoing toilet paper. The next suggestion was recycled toilet paper. This also elicited an "ewww" from the Mini Greens as they assumed we'd be reusing toilet paper.

Naturally, once toilet paper is flushed, it is literally down the drain. It is not a material one recycles, but rather it composts naturally back to the earth where it originated to eventually become paper again. The problem of course is the amount of time between chopping down the tree to make the paper to flush the paper, etc... and the time a new tree grows.  Last week when Mama Green (me) decided to indulge the Mini Greens with paper napkins for their lunchboxes, I did seek the recycled paper napkins. Mama Green also thought to do a bit of research whether using recycled paper products really is even that meaningful. The results are astounding.

Municipal Solid Waste Generation, 2009
As the pie chart indicates, paper the primary source of municipal solid waste generated each year in the United States. Therefore it stands to reason that it is also the most recycled type of waste.

Paper can be recycled 4-6 times before the fibers become too short to make into paper.  Recycled paper can be made into a wide range of everyday products including: newspapers, magazines, printing paper,  cardboard, tissue, and loft insulation.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council,  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. 

From that statistic alone, recycled paper products are worth investigating. If not for toilet paper, perhaps for tissues, napkins, or paper towels. NRDC has a great comparison chart of different recycled products for consumer research.

Kimberly-Clark continues to primarily use freshly cut trees to make their paper products, versus recycled fiber. If this concerns you, the NRDC has a petition and letter for their president, to send a letter to Kimberly-Clark follow the embedded hyperlink to send a letter and voice your concern.

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