Thursday, February 26, 2009

Don't Grab a Kleenex!

While we're still in the midst of cold and flu season, let me pose this question: do you know where your Kleenex comes from? For most of you, I'm guessing the answer is no. Instead of repurposing recycled paper content, giant corporations like Kimberly-Clark, Proctor and Gamble, and Georgia Pacific knowingly and actively participate in the deforestation of some of North America's most ancient forests. Greenpeace has been fighting Kimberly-Clark (makers of Kleenex, Scott, and Cottonelle, among others) since 2004 to adopt a more responsible approach to the manufacture of such disposable products. Kleenex has fought back, reluctant to change their destructive and wasteful ways. So now, nearly five years later, the battle rages on.

This article in today's New York Times reminded me of this fact and got me mad all over again. Think about it; do we really need to cut down trees that have been enhancing the beauty of our planet and providing forest animals shelter for hundreds of years, just so we can wipe our ass with (or blow our snot into) something shiny and new? NO! This nation's trend toward bigger and better, regardless of the cost, has only fueled these companies' desires to create 2-, 3-, or 4-ply, quilted, padded, and even moisturized personal tissue items.

Sure, they're soft. Sure, they're aesthetically pleasing. But the luxury is NOT worth the damage caused to wildlife and to the environment. For all the energy it takes to cut down, process, bleach, heat, and package the sad remnants of a once-majestic tree, those hefty costs are passed on to the consumer while our natural resources are destroyed. I'm no businessperson, but it makes far more sense to me to use recycled paper products, which are far more cost and energy effective, and manufacturers can instead pass savings onto their consumers while maintaining their profit margins!

Now, I'm not suggesting that everyone go back to carrying a handkerchief, because that's... well... gross-- but you can be a smart consumer and vote with your wallet. For example, Trader Joe's sells wonderful (and cheap!) paper products that are 100% recycled, use up to 80% post-consumer content, and are not whitened with any chlorine bleach. The tissue boxes are funny and even fashionable, and cost less than a dollar (and the toilet paper doesn't leave any remnants on your behind)! If you have a terrible cold and are going through multiple boxes of tissues a day and your nose has been rubbed so raw that you just have to get a box of ancient-forest tissue, I suppose I can look the other way for a bit, but for average, everyday use, recycled tissue reigns supreme!

1 comment:

ChicaGoinGreen said...

Greenpeace succeeded in August! Kimberly-Clark has pledged to use 40% recycled content in all of their products by 2011, and not to use any other materials that haven't been approved by the Forest Stewardship Council. That's still two years away, though, and the other companies have yet to follow suit. So until they do, keep buying recycled tissue products!