Shop Smart, Save Birds

Natural Resources Defense Council: A Shopper’s Guide to Home Tissue Products

Canada’s boreal forest is one of the largest unspoiled forests left on earth. It provides breeding grounds for up to three billion birds each spring, and nearly half of all the bird species in North America depend on the boreal for survival. Boreal bird habitat is being destroyed to make toilet paper, facial tissues, paper towels, and other disposable paper products. You can help halt this destruction by making smart shopping decisions. This green guide provides a list of tissue paper products to buy – and a few to avoid. Visit www.nrdc.org/paper for a full product list and to send a message to paper giant Kimberly-Clark, maker of Scott, Cottonelle, Kleenex, and Viva, telling the company to stop destroying boreal bird habitat.

Three things you can do to help save our forests and birds:

  1. Buy paper products with recycled content – especially post-consumer fibers. Look for products that have a high recycled content, including high post-consumer content. Post-consumer fibers are recovered from paper that was previously used by consumers and would otherwise have been dumped into a landfill or an incinerator.
  2. Buy paper products made with clean, safe processes. Paper products are bleached to make them whiter and brighter, but chlorine used in many bleaching processes contributes to the formation of harmful chemicals that wind up in our air and water and are highly toxic to people and fish. Look for products labeled totally chlorine-free (TCF) or processed chlorine-free (PCF). In some cases, elemental chlorine-free (ECF) may be acceptable.
  3. Tell tissue manufacturers to stop using virgin wood for throwaway products. If a brand you buy doesn’t have any recycled content, contact the manufacturer. Tell the company to use more recycled fibers, to avoid sourcing from ecologically valuable forests such as those in the Cumberland Plateau and Canadian Boreal, and to ensure any virgin fibers used are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Saving forests also helps reduced global warming pollution.

Here is a list of products that meet the NRDC’s environmental criteria:

  • Facial tissue: Fluff Out, Hankies, Marcal, Seventh Generation
  • Toilet paper: 365 (Whole Foods), Ambiance, April Soft, Best Value, Earth First, Fiesta, Marcal, Pert, Planet, Seventh Generation
  • Paper towels: 365 (Whole Foods), Atlantic, Best Value, Earth First, Fiesta, Marcal, Pert, Planet, Seventh Generation
  • Paper napkins: 365 (Whole Foods), Bella, Earth First, Marcal, Seventh Generation

Products to avoid:

  • Bounty, Charmin, Cottonelle, Kleenex, Puffs, Scott, Viva

Reprinted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC does not endorse any products.

Follow-up – Products available locally include the following:

  • Seventh Generation: D&W (Parkview & Oakland), Hardings (W. Main & Drake), Natural Health Food Center, People’s Food Coop, Sawall Health Foods
  • Green Forest (Planet): Hardings (D Avenue, Richland; S. Westnedge; W. Main & Drake)

Not all products are available at all locations. This is not an all-inclusive list but only a sampling.