Avoiding the paper trap
Consider these simple actions to help reduce your paper use and make better buying choices.
Buy recycled. Tissue products, such as toilet paper, handkerchiefs, napkins and kitchen towels cannot be recycled after use, which is why it is important to ensure that the tissue products you buy contain a high level of recycled content.
Is this product necessary? Don’t use paper products when you can use cloth. Reserve your paper purchases for essentials only.
It doesn’t need to be white. The whiter it is, the more it has been bleached. To reduce chemical exposures, don’t choose the whitest product.
Ask for recycled. If you local store doesn’t stock recycled toilet tissue, ask them to start stocking it.
Read the label. Make sure the claims make sense to you. What is your toilet tissue made from, waste paper or pulp? What percentage of the total is recycled material and is it from a sustainable source? Does it make any claims for safe bleaching processes, such as ‘chlorine free’? If the label isn’t clear, don’t buy the product.
Support ethical companies. The Ethical Consumer recommends brands such as Naturelle or Co-op’s recycled toilet tissue range. Other good choices include products from the Natural Collection, Traidraft, Ecotopia, Essential and Suma.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist December 2007