The Issue with Tissue: How Americans Are Flushing Forests Down the Toilet

Report
October 08, 2019

Tissue products such as toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissue are cheap and convenient—but they cost the planet a great deal. The vast majority of these tissue products are made from wood pulp, and in the United States that wood pulp comes largely from the boreal forest of Canada. Our demand for tissue is devastating the boreal, with serious consequences for Indigenous Peoples, treasured wildlife, and the global climate. We already know of options for more sustainable tissue production—specifically by using recycled materials and responsibly-sourced alternative fibers. Yet, major companies have largely failed to adopt them.

This report provides an overview of the major tissue brands and reveals the worst corporate offenders driving boreal degradation. It describes the impact of virgin pulp sourced from the old growth forests like Canada’s boreal forest and the United States’ strong reliance on tissue products. It also includes a scorecard for consumers ranking major tissue brands according to their impacts on forests. Finally, this report outlines existing solutions that companies can adopt to make their brands more sustainable.

It is time to reexamine current norms of tissue production and consumption. It is also time for companies to act more as global citizens and usher the world into a more sustainable paradigm. Fortunately, solutions promoting healthy forests and a healthy planet already exist. Companies and consumers simply need to embrace them.