Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trees pay a high cost for soft toilet roll obsession

Forests are suffering at the hands of consumers who demand soft toilet rolls. Recycled toilet paper just isn't the same apparently.

Soft toilet roll could be seen as one of life's little luxuries. I expect that we need to get used to be bit of discomfort in the future. Luxury roll sales are down 7% in recent months as people learn to "rough it".

The New York Time (no less) reports:

Mr. Whipple Left It Out: Soft Is Rough on Forests [New York Times]

The national obsession with soft paper has driven the growth of brands like Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra — which in 2008 alone increased its sales by 40 percent in some markets, according to Information Resources, Inc., a marketing research firm.

But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada. Although toilet tissue can be made at similar cost from recycled material, it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them.

Customers “demand soft and comfortable,” said James Malone, a spokesman for Georgia Pacific, the maker of Quilted Northern. “Recycled fiber cannot do it.”

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