WWF and Toilet Paper

The growth of recycled toilet paper and the marketing response of the established brands has been an object of fascination for me at the super market (it’s a pretty boring place).  I’ve always felt that if we can’t use recycled products for that, then what will we use them for…

Recently, the increasing appearance of environmental marketing  for non-recycled products was the best sign that recycled brands must be taking an increasing market share, perhaps a sign of a win for commonsense and an increasing environmental ethic? (I note the ‘eco-ply’ with a ‘recycled middle layer’,  is probably the funniest attempt at green washing of toilet paper that I’ve so far seen).

But then one day walking past the section I saw a new brand on the shelf, and it wasn’t a new manufacturers brand. I did a double take to check, and realised it was indeed the WWF Panda.  I  had a closer look wondering if I’d been buying the wrong brand, only to note that it wasn’t made from recycled paper but FSC certified paper.

That got me thinking if I was wrong and that there was some strong argument why certified toilet paper would be more environmentally friendly than recycled toilet paper – so I went to the company website – but found  no explanation there about why certified paper is better than recycled.  The WWF website also had no such explanation.

So I went to Google to get a feel for what others were thinking.  And found the following:

TheEcologist.org – general discussion on the pro’s and cons, but overall recycled wins.

The Good Guide – rates toilet paper products on sustainability, all recycled products all at the top of the list, the WWF endorsed brand well down the list.

G Mag – bit of an ode to recycled toilet paper to prove I’m not alone.

WipeItOut campaign – to really prove I’m not alone – they want an end to non-recycled toilet paper in Australia by 2014.  270,000 trees cut down a day just for use in manufacturing non-recycled toilet paper!

Here – a 2006 Earth Day call to go recycled.

I tried to justify this, thinking it wouldn’t make much difference.  But then I spoke to a friend about it who said they had lost a long standing battle with their partner over buying recycled toilet paper after they saw the WWF logo on the non-recycled alternative.

As always, I maintain an open mind if new information comes to light.  But for now it seems to me that if an environment group brand is to appear in our supermarkets, someone should be making sure it only appears on the best choice on the shelf.

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