The Difference between Good and Bad Paper: Know What You Send Down the Pipes

I used to be a card-carrying member of Greenpeace. Long before I was a mom, Greenpeace helped form my activist, power-to-the-people thinking, and I wrote letters and boycotted brands based on the trusted counsel of far more courageous and knowledgeable people than I.

That’s when I started thinking about my toilet paper. I stopped using Scott brand paper products because they were one of the largest purchasers of rainforest trees for paper. Then I found out Scott was a Kimberly Clark brand, along with Kleenex, so Kleenex was no longer my tissue. Then I used Marcal, a New Jersey brand that made my choice so much easier. Marcal’s motto is “paper from paper, not trees” and they have been making paper goods from recycled paper since 1950. I always liked Marcal because their tissues and toilet paper—er, bath tissue—didn’t feel like sandpaper like most recycled tissue.

But when we moved from the East coast, we found that Marcal wasn’t known around these parts. We suffered through lots of recycled paper choices, but they were all scratchy and unpleasant. Once my sensitive little girl started using tissues and T.P., I opted for conservation and education, and soft instead of environmentally sound.

I still didn’t buy Kimberly Clark brands, but I wasn’t careful about the brands I did buy. It was like “don’t ask, don’t tell” for paper products. But now I find that I can once again wipe our snot on soft Kleenex brand tissues! Greenpeace’s five year Kleercut Kleenex brand boycott has come to an end, because Kimberly Clark has agreed to source 100% of the wood fiber for all of it’s products from environmentally responsible sources, and will begin getting out of the Boreal Forest; they will not be cutting down rainforest trees, which is great news!

So, to celebrate, I bought some Scott single-ply toilet paper. And, Kimberly Clark has a lot of other brands we can try. I noticed that Marcal has a tiny space in the paper towel section so I bought some to support them in this market, and will look for their T.P., especially because they don’t use toxic dioxins to bleach their paper. But, for now, the toilet paper decision doesn’t have to be a guilty tickle in the back of my mind, and I can have some peace in the paper product aisle.

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