Thursday, November 12, 2009

90 Years

That's how long it takes to grow a box of Kleenex Brand tissues.

Back in 2005, my father in-law started talking to me about buying recycled paper products.  Well.... to be exact....it was toilet paper.  From him, I started learning about where paper products come from and how they are made.  Needless to say, I was shocked when I found out that single use products (like facial tissues and toilet paper) are made from 100% virgin tree fibers that come from 70-180 year old trees.  Old growth forests are being cut down and eco-systems are being destroyed so that we can wipe and blow.

One of the first major changes that I made-- on the road to environmental responsibility-- was to make the decision to stop buying any products from Kimberly-Clark including Kleenex, Scott, Viva, and Cottenelle.  Why Kimberly-Clark?  I started there first because they are the largest manufacturer of tissue products worldwide.  It took me a couple of months, as I transitioned from buying virgin-fiber tissue products to 100% recycled tissue products.  Now, I'm not going to sit here and lie and say it was easy... it was a little difficult.  The soft, lotion enhanced tissues were a thing of the past.  And every time I got a cold and had a sore red nose, I questioned my commitment to the environment.  In those moments I would tell myself, "I'd have a sore red nose no matter what."  Then I'd put on a little lotion or skin protector (similar to Chapstick). Now, it doesn't even faze me.

Most recently, I've seen new "green washing" slogans.  How about that claim: "For every tree we cut down, we plant 3!"  Sure it's a great slogan and has the ability to make you feel all warm and fuzzy.  But the truth of the matter is that chances are only 1 of 3 will survive and planting 3 trees doesn't replace ecosystems.

Here's something to think about:  If every household in the US replaced JUST one roll of 500 sheet virgin-fiber toilet paper with 100% recycled ones, we could save:

  • 423,900 trees
  • 1.0 million cubic feet of landfill space, equal to 1,600 full garbage trucks
  • 153 million gallons of water, a year's supply for 1,200 families of 4
So when you head to the store (sometimes it's best to call ahead)... seek out 100% recycled products.  Can't find what you're looking for?  Talk to a manager, write a comment and voice your opinion... let your preference be known :)

OR keep it simple and order online.  We use www.treecycle.com 

Read a little more and try some of these tips :)