This section of the blog will require a part one and a part two. There are five paper product areas I want to discuss. I’m going to talk about four of those here in part one and will cover the fifth in part two.
In the forest products industry, toilet paper is the number one part of the “tissue market”. The tissue market includes toilet paper, paper towels and napkins as well as facial tissues. In the U.S., we consume 50% more “tissue market” products than Europe and 500% more than Latin America.
Paper towels are the second most used tissue product. I couldn’t find reliable information on paper napkins and facial tissues. Much of the paper used in tissues and paper products like this is, fortunately, recycled. And, no, the “recycled” content of toilet paper isn’t recycled toilet paper. That would be gross. And think about it, used toilet paper goes down the drain and into the treatment sludge facility; recycling would be virtually impossible.
And, I’m not advocating going paperless with your toilet paper; even I have a limit. But I will suggest you buy double rolls, simply because they use half the little cardboard liner roller things and about half the packaging. And, check the recycled content of the toilet paper you buy.
But, when it comes to paper towels and napkins and facial tissues, I will advocate for going cloth. We switched to cloth cleaning towels quite some time ago and haven’t bought paper towels for a couple of years. We find it works very well and we have purchased enough cloth towels that we can run them as part of our normal washing load of laundry with virtually no additional effort. Buy white ones and use them over and over.
On facial tissues, I have used a cloth handkerchief since high school. I guess I got that habit from my dad. He always used a cloth hanky. To be honest, part of why I dislike paper facial tissues is my finger seems to always poke through into the snot. Sorry to be gross, but that’s my original motivation. Cloth has worked for me for a very long time.
We’ve recently switched (almost 100%) to some simple, white cloth napkins, too. This seems to be working fine for us. We haven’t gotten sick from using cloth napkins, handkerchiefs or towels, so I guess it’s OK. And, we are making even more progress in reducing our trash.
Give it a try; you may even like it better. I know it’s cheaper!