Friday, February 27, 2009

Soft paper obsession is hard on the environment

Americans are obsessed with soft toilet paper, so much that brands such as Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra increased their sales by 40 percent in 2008. Here's the rub, so to speak: Soft paper is made from standing trees, not recycled material, drawing ire of environmental groups.

"The country’s soft-tissue habit — call it the Charmin effect — has not escaped the notice of environmentalists, who are increasingly making toilet tissue manufacturers the targets of campaigns," reports Leslie Kaufman of The New York Times. (Times photo)

While most of the trees used in making soft paper come from farms, some are harvested from old-growth forests. Those trees are vital for absorption of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, environmental groups note. They also point out that creating paper from recycled material uses less water, and creates less waste tonnage than making paper from trees. (Read more)

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