We’ve been flushing away our trees for years. Now, innovative companies are finding ways to make this necessity lighter on the planet.
This April, Amsterdam-based Van Houtum released Satino Black, calling it the world’s most environmentally friendly toilet paper. The carbon-neutral toilet paper is made from 100 percent
recycled content (85 percent post-consumer) and is manufactured using 100 percent renewable energy. It received the European Ecolabel and has Cradle-to-Cradle and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.
In Japan, Oriental’s White Goat machine turns used office paper into toilet paper with the push of a button. Feed the machine 40 sheets of office paper, and it will shred, dissolve, dry out and wind it into usable toilet paper in just 30 minutes. Making a roll costs about 60 cents, and it can save up to 60 cedar trees per year. At more than 1,000 pounds and about six feet tall, the White Goat takes up a considerable amount of space, and at $100,000, it’s only realistic for large companies, but the idea is currently being developed on a smaller scale. See a video of the machine at work on the Utne magazine website
Fluffy toilet paper requires millions of trees, including some from old-growth forests. Making toilet tissue from recycled material costs about the same as using the fiber from standing trees, but virgin paper is more plush. In the United States–the world’s largest toilet paper market–tissue from 100 percent recycled fibers makes up less than 2 percent of sales. In Europe and Latin America, products with recycled content make up about 20 percent of the at-home market.
—The New York Times