Toilet paper is getting less sustainable, researchers warn

25th of July 2019
Toilet paper is getting less sustainable, researchers warn

Toilet paper in the UK is becoming less sustainable, according to research. Analysis by Ethical Consumer magazine found that major brands were using less recycled paper than in 2011 while only five of the nine major UK supermarkets offered an own-brand recycled toilet paper.

And the growing trend for "luxury" four-ply and quilted toilet roll is fuelling the use of virgin pulp in an effort to create the softest product, the study claims.

"With consumer attention focused on plastic, some of the big brands have slowed and even reversed their use of recycled paper in the toilet rolls they make," said Alex Crumbie, researcher for Ethical Consumer.

The study singles out Kimberly-Clark, one of the world's biggest suppliers of toilet tissue. The proportion of recycled wood pulp used by the company has fallen from just under 30 per cent in 2011 to 23.5 per cent in 2017. And a recycled/bamboo version of the company's Andrex roll was discontinued in 2015.

Most toilet rolls use the FSC Mix mark which means the paper is made from a mix of FSC virgin wood, recycled and virgin wood from "controlled sources". These are not fully certified FSC forests but are considered low risk.

Kimberly-Clark said: "As one of the world's largest buyers of market pulp, we know that protecting forests is critical to creating a resilient supply chain for our products. By having the Forest Stewardship Council trademark on packaging for products like Andrex, we're using the strong reputation of our brands to raise awareness of responsible forestry around the world."


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