By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
With so much political rhetoric flying by this winter, it was good to see some real news emerge: Cascades Tissue Group announced it will continue selling its newly developed 100-percent recycled, unbleached toilet paper to commercial vendors, and maybe someday, the public.
Finally, we’re making headway on disposables; because when it comes to TP, no civilized human who’s already accustomed to using it will be giving up the habit anytime soon.
Americans use 3.4 million tons of toilet paper every year, and just more than half of that comes from virgin fibers, meaning trees are cut down so we can, ah… remain hygienic.
There’s no going back on this one. For one thing, the Sears catalog is now online. TP is just flat out necessary.
But using virgin fibers to make it is not. It’s even offensive, if you value tree cover. Several companies have been catching on, making toilet paper that’s either partially or completely constructed from recycled fibers. Brand names such as Seventh Generation, Earth First and Marcal’s Small Steps come to mind.
But Cascades has taken the next brave step, advancing the sustainability profile of its 100-percent recycled TP by getting rid of the bleaching. The result is light beige product called Moka, whose environmental impact is 25 percent less than the already laudable 100-percent recycled white TP. It is composed of fibers from recycled corrugated cardboard and other de-inked, post-consumer material. The company has been promoting it to vendors since this fall with good success.
Ultimately, Cascades will have to promote this thoroughly responsible (and hopefully tender) Moka to a pampered, Cottonelle-enamored public as a worthy change.
“Beige is the new green, at least as it relates to towel and tissue,” said Cascades Tissue Group CEO Suzanne Blanchet, in a statement. “The last several years have brought about countless habit changes meant to preserve the environment. The quality of this bath tissue hasn’t been sacrificed one bit, so adjusting to a new color seems like a small step to take for even greater sustainability.”
So far Moka is not available on the retail market for regular consumers, but is following the path of many recycled products, being offered to commercial users first. They’re more cost conscious and accustomed to brown paper towels and napkins and such.
“The change may seem radical to some, but at the end of the day, beige fits just as well in most commercial restroom décors and it certainly works much better for the health of our planet,” said Blanchet, who, the statement notes, “personally conceived and championed Moka bath tissue’s development.”
So it took a woman. (Just saying).