Toilet Paper Makers Fail Sustainability Test

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by KnowESG
KnowESG_Toilet Paper Makers Fail Sustainability Test
Image courtesy of Moeru Matsunoo via Getty Images

In the most recent evaluation by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 29 toilet paper brands received a less-than-stellar "F" grade, placing them at the bottom of the scale.

This disappointing statistic encompassed nearly half of the brands scrutinised during the comprehensive study.

Prominent household names and major consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands, such as Scott, Charmin, Cottenelle, and Angel Soft, were among those falling short in the eyes of this environmental advocacy group.

Private label offerings, including Costco's Kirkland, Amazon Basics, Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value, and Walmart's Great Value, also joined the ranks of failing brands.

The NRDC's assessment extended beyond toilet paper, including paper towels and facial tissues in its analysis. In the realm of paper towels, 21 brands received an unimpressive "F" score, which accounted for just under half of all brands evaluated. Facial tissues fared slightly worse, with 19 brands receiving a failing grade, constituting a little over half of those included in the study.

The core focus of the NRDC's scorecard was the sourcing of raw materials for tissue paper products. Brands that primarily or exclusively derived their fibres from forests received the lowest ratings.

On the contrary, brands that predominantly utilised recycled fibres, with an emphasis on post-consumer materials over post-manufacturing materials, earned the highest accolades. Notably, Green Forest, Natural Value, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods' private label recycled toilet paper were among the standout performers, earning coveted A+ scores from the NRDC.

In its report, the NRDC emphasised the pressing need to recognise the severe and avoidable ecological impacts associated with manufacturing single-use tissue products from forest fibre. It underscored the existence of sustainable alternatives to the current practice of converting trees into toilet paper.

The report also addressed the environmental impact of tissues made from bamboo fibres, positioning them as a middle-ground choice between recycled and forest-derived options. The NRDC noted that the sustainability of bamboo-based products varied, largely contingent on whether bamboo plantations were established through the clearance of natural forests.

At the heart of the failing grades were brands predominantly reliant on forest fibres. This category included industry giants like Procter & Gamble, Georgia-Pacific, and Kimberly-Clark. The NRDC referred to these industry titans as "the Big Three," highlighting their consistent track record of producing household tissue brands primarily sourced from forest fibre, a pattern that had consistently resulted in failing scores across all five editions of the tissue scorecard published to date.

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Source: Supply Chain Dive

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