Tree-to-Toilet Pipeline and Toilet Paper Industry Giant Charmin is Out of Touch

Tree-to-Toilet Pipeline and Toilet Paper Industry Giant Charmin is Out of Touch

Monday April 08, 2019

In February 2019, Stand.earth released a report co-authored with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that shines a spotlight on the crisis unfolding in the Canadian boreal forest. The report, called The Issue with Tissue, details how Americans are flushing forests down the toilet.

Although the United States is just 4% of the global population, Americans consume 20% of the world’s toilet paper for an average of about three rolls per week. To make their toilet paper, many brands rely on fiber from the Canadian boreal. Shockingly, about 30% of that fiber comes from whole trees from clearcut forests.

Charmin is one of the largest at-home toilet paper brands in the US and their parent company, Procter & Gamble, refuses to incorporate recycled or alternative fibers into the product recipe. This is despite the fact that in a poll released on International Day of Forests, two-thirds of Americans revealed they are concerned their toilet paper is made from clear-cutting vital forests like the boreal, and 85% want toilet paper companies to use more environmentally responsible materials. 

The “Issue with Tissue” clearly connects the dots between toilet paper consumption and threats to the boreal. Thanks to the report, U.S. toilet paper manufacturers that refuse to make products with recycled and alternative fibers are finally being called out for destroying Canada’s boreal forest. 

Real solutions to protect Canadian forests

it’s time for the Canadian government to protect the boreal forest and threatened boreal caribou — before it’s too late. Canadians want the Trudeau government to enforce its forest protection laws and protect the threatened boreal caribou. But it’s been fairly easy for federal and provincial governments to maintain a status quo of inaction. They can turn a blind eye simply because the demand for trees clearcut from the Canadian boreal is driven largely by the United States, and in recent years there has been little pressure to change, especially from U.S. brands that rely upon the boreal to make their products. 

But no longer. The “Issue with Tissue” report shines a spotlight on these challenges, and it’s time to demand real solutions.

It’s time for large toilet paper manufacturers like Procter & Gamble to start making toilet paper from recycled and alternative fibers to reduce pressure on Canada’s boreal forest, and it’s time for the Canadian government to protect the boreal forest and threatened boreal caribou — before it’s too late. 

As Canada and the rest of the world confront the necessity of rapidly innovating across industries in order to tackle the most threatening challenge of our lifetime — climate change — we simply can’t keep flushing forests down the toilet.