That super-soft toilet paper you're fond of using? It's an ecological disaster, environmentalists say.
Millions of trees are harvested throughout the Americas – including rare old-growth forests in Canada – to sustain the United States’ obsession with quilted, ultra-soft, multi-ply toilet paper, the New York Times reported.
Although toilet paper manufacturers could produce products from recycled materials at a similar cost, the newspaper reported, the fiber taken from standing trees are necessary to help give the tissue its fluffy feel.
“No forest of any kind should be used to make toilet paper,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist and waste expert with the Natural Resource Defense Council told the Times.
The United States is the largest market for toilet paper in the world, the newspaper reported, but tissue from 100 percent recycled fibers makes up less than 2 percent of sales for at-home use among conventional and premium brands. People from other countries throughout Europe and Latin America are far less picky about what they use to wipe.
“This is a product that we use for less than three seconds and the ecological consequences of manufacturing it from trees is enormous,” Hershkowitz told the Guardian newspaper, which cited the chemicals used in pulp manufacturing and process of cutting down forests.
“Future generations are going to look at the way we make toilet paper as one of the greatest excesses of our age," Hershkowitz said. "Making toilet paper from virgin wood is a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution.”
However, hope is on the horizon, if Hollywood is any indicator. The Times reported the Academy Awards ceremony last weekend used 100 percent recycled toilet paper at the Kodak Theater’s restrooms.