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Is Bath Tissue Really Wiping Out North American Forests?

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White Paper

Joanna Wilhelm, Senior Consultant, Fisher International

A February 2019 report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) resulted in several news articles and stories stating, “The Issue with Tissue.” The NRDC report focused criticism on North American bath tissue producers for the amount of virgin fiber used in their products and the impact on the environment resulting from the cutting of boreal forests for the virgin fiber supply.

It also reported that integrated virgin fiber mills use almost twice as much water and produce more air pollutants than recycled mills. The NRDC called on the tissue producers to shift to recycled content and sustainable alternative fibers, such as wheat straw and bamboo.

So, are commercial and consumer bath tissues the worst offenders when it comes to the quantity and percentages of virgin hardwood and virgin softwood fibers used? How do North American bath tissue producers stack up compared to the rest of the world in their use of recycled and other environmentally friendly fibers?

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