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Toilet Paper and Climate Change: NRDC’s Updated "Issue with Tissue"

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NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) has released an updated analysis of the climate impacts caused by the “tree to toilet” pipeline destroying the climate-critical Canadian boreal forest. The “Issue with Tissue 2.0” report includes a new sustainability ranking for toilet paper brands and other tissue products made by major US producers.

While toilet paper’s emergence as one of the most sought-after products in America was an unexpected side effect of COVID-19, the toilet paper shortage has brought to the forefront the urgency of creating a more sustainable, resilient means of production of tissue products. Currently, the industry clearcuts one million acres of boreal forest each year - leading Canada to rank third globally, behind Russia and Brazil, in terms of global intact forest loss – in part to produce pulp that U.S. tissue makers roll into the ultimate disposable product: toilet paper.

“By making toilet paper from ancient forests essential to the climate fight, tissue companies are flushing away our forests and our planet’s future,” said Shelley Vinyard, NRDC’s Boreal Campaign Manager and report co-author. “Instead of exacerbating the climate crisis, companies like Procter & Gamble must take urgent action to create more sustainable products. Our planet has no time for the largest companies in the world to take half-measures or deflect blame,” said Vinyard.

NRDC’s 2020 scorecard ranks 26 toilet paper brands, giving an A or A+ score to 11 brands, including the new winner “Who Gives A Crap,” which received the top grade for its rolls made of 100 percent recycled materials, including 95 percent postconsumer recycled product.

In addition to challenging major tissue brands to add post-consumer recycled pulp to products, NRDC also calls on tissue makers to invest in recycled and alternative fiber research and stop sourcing tissue pulp from critical habitats of threatened species and areas where logging companies have not obtained free, prior and informed consent before operating in the traditional lands of Indigenous Peoples.



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