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Talking about Toilet Paper

January 27, 2012

Way back, before I started this blog, I had another blog, Becoming Mindful, which had the tagline “rethinking everyday choices.” Unfortunately, it only made it to 5 posts, as I discovered that researching and writing each post could take a lot more time than I was willing to commit.  But I stand true to what I wrote in my initial entry,

How can the decisions I make about the things I eat, buy, or do be more environmentally friendly, healthy, and/or ethical? A lot of this information has been floating around for years, but for the most part I didn’t really try to do anything about it.  But now I’ve realised that making changes, some simple, some requiring a lot more effort and commitment, can make my life kinder to myself, others, and the planet.  And that is the way I want to live.

If you’ve been reading this blog with any regularity, no doubt you’ve noticed that I work in plugs for things like fair trade tea and chocolate, and buying certain things organic, such as organic citrus.  But it is hard to be anything but blatantly obvious about this topic…. well, hmm, maybe if I first work in some Chai pictures:

An entire roll of paper towel destroyed by Chai, before I learned to hide it on the highest shelf in a secure cupboard

An entire roll of toilet paper unrolled by Chai last year, before I learned to hide it in the cupboard

(By the way, Chai continues to have a death wish on paper products. On Christmas morning I woke up to a white Christmas in the bathroom as I had foolishly believed he was over his toilet paper attacking phase.  He also launches himself repeatedly at posters and just destroyed my favourite International Migratory Bird Day poster.)

Yep, I’m talking about toilet paper.  Well, all paper products.

Tonight on CBC Marketplace there was an episode called The Toilet Paper Chase, which you can watch (apparently worldwide) online by following that link.  Although personally I didn’t really find it eye-opening.  I didn’t really expect forestry certification logos on paper products to mean much.  The bottom line is that they still allow for clear-cutting and the use of chemicals, and they don’t mean that there is recycled content in the certified product.  And I think the program fell short of suggesting to consumers what the logical ecological alternative is: buy recycled toilet paper and other paper products, or use cloth alternatives when feasible. (Okay, they do have a tip sheet on their website.)

Do you use recycled toilet paper?  Why not?

I have now spent several years researching this topic for you all!  😉 Here are several Canadian options (sorry, international readers, and for all I know, they might be just western Canadian options.  American friends, you can compare your options over here at the Natural Resource Defense Council.)

  • President’s Choice Green (100% post-consumer recycled paper)

I bought this kind several times a while ago, and it’s okay.  As many noted in their reviews found on the PC website, it isn’t as soft as one would like.

  • White Swan (100% recycled paper with up to 80% post-consumer content)

I bought this brand and then discovered, to my horror, that it is 1-ply.   The majority of the package is now taking up valuable storage space and it is on my to-do list to find a local charity to foist it off on.  😉 Although according to this article, their toilet paper testers gave it 2nd place in a survey that compared various brands, without regard to the recycled content.  But after 2 months of 1-ply in Costa Rica I don’t want to be anywhere near that stuff if I have a choice.

This seems to be available anywhere regular Purex is sold.  As this was the recycled brand available at the local C0-op our field house used it this past summer.  It seemed as soft as normal toilet paper to me.  I’d recommend it.

I have bought this several times (it is what I’ve got now) and it is definitely softer than the PC Green.  It is available at various retailers locally, including Wal-mart.   Another choice that I recommend.

I have not tried this type of toilet paper.  I noticed that it is more expensive than the Cascade Premium toilet paper at Wal-mart. You can read a review of it at Green Living.  As Marketplace pointed out, the soft toilet paper consumers value so greatly comes from virgin trees, particularly hardwoods, which, according to tonight’s program, are often not replanted (they are left to come back on their own, at least in the New Brunswick forests discussed.)  So this t.p. includes a portion of virgin fibres to meet that demand for softness.  If softness is super important to you, maybe you should try this.  60% recycled fibre is better than none.

I am not going to go into details as far as recycled paper towel brands, but if you look, you will find them.    They may be more expensive, but check the flyers, they will come on sale.  Choosing a brand with half-sheets will help you reduce your use while you are at it.  I buy Cascades, which is both 100% recycled and has half-sheets.  You can further reduce your use by stocking up on dish cloths and cloth rags, saving the paper towels for jobs where reusable cloths aren’t as practical (like bacon grease and cat barf.)  Also, replace paper napkins with cloth ones.

Recycled facial tissue can be somewhat difficult to find.  Scotties EnviroCare (available at various retailers), White Swan (I used to buy them at Canadian Tire, but I am not sure if they still carry them),  and Bright Green (available at Safeway, a product of American fibres) are three options that I know of.  Using handkerchief is an even more environmentally friendly option.

So there you have it.  Not only did I stay home and watch a show about toilet paper on a Friday night (Chai was even too cool for that, he prefered to be sleeping on top of the bathroom cupboard), but now I just spent over 2 hours blogging about toilet paper.  I think I need to get out a little more. 😉

Did you actually just read this entire post? (Wow, thanks if you did!)

Do you use any recycled paper products or reusable alternatives? 

What do you recommend buying in your area?

Am I the only person who constantly mistypes it as “toliet” instead of the proper spelling?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Ed Golem permalink
    January 28, 2012 10:17 am

    Thanks for the info. I will try to be a little more diligent when shopping for toilet paper. Any toilet paper is softer than the old Sears catologue that used to hang in lots of outhouses right across Canada and the US. Any of you ever exposed to the same? I use very little paper towel except for things like wiping grease from a pan.

  2. January 28, 2012 11:47 am

    I do not use paper towels very often, only for things like bacon grease (no cat to barf in my apartment!). I use hankies most of the time, they are great especially when you have a cold. Try them, your nose will thank you for it!
    I have tried the PC recycled brand of TP, but not for many years. In college it was the cheapest option, but the girls I was l living wiu quickly voted on shelling out more cash for better quality!

  3. Jennie Frances permalink
    January 28, 2012 1:09 pm

    Just looked at the Scott towels pkg and it says nothing about recycled – they certainly feel like recycled as they are not like Bounty, which I normally buy but opted for the cheaper last time. I remember the Sears or Eatons catologs in the neighbours outhouse 🙂 When that happened I decided I could wait until I got home next time 😉
    No, sorry, I did not read the whole article! I am sure Chai would be delighted to use up the one ply paper. Can’t you just double it up??

  4. January 28, 2012 8:36 pm

    I read the whole thing, yep. I just bought a new brand of recycled tp, but haven’t tried it yet. I have been using exclusively recycled tp for years, and have learned which labels mean nothing and which mean a little bit. Not surprisingly, none mean all that much in the end.

    I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought paper towels and the only time I have ever “needed” one is when my mom was over and she uses them all the time. I handed her a rag and she was appaled. “what if it gets stained?!?” It’s a rag, mom….that’s why it’s called a rag. It doesn’t need to be blindingly white to mop up the syrup you spilled.

    1-ply is just wrong. I mean, I get it, but I just end up using twice as much anyway.

  5. Val McWhirter permalink
    January 28, 2012 9:13 pm

    Sure did and yes I always look for recycled toilet paper and facial tissue (we don’t buy paper towel and opt for dish clothes – we just use tp for kitty messes!). We also decided to use cloth diapers and wipes which we have not regretted for one second! I don’t have a favorite brand of tp and just go for the cheapest! Always look forward to reading your blog thanks for your insights:)

  6. January 29, 2012 8:21 am

    I have to admit, since my boyfriend has stronger feelings about paper product brands and does the buying of them, so I don’t actually know if any of them are recycled….
    Chai is adorable. And makes me realize how lucky I am that my kitty can live in harmony with our household paper products.

  7. jennie frances permalink
    November 10, 2014 4:56 pm

    Ha ha Chai. Gram laughed when she saw you! You were just a wittle boy there. Now you have so much attitude!

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