Americans each use about 50 pounds
of tissue products every year. All of that paper has to come from somewhere, and sometimes it's from virgin forests that animals -- often endangered species -- rely upon for their habitat.
According to the World Wildlife Fund
, the biggest growing toilet paper brand in the country is called Paseo. Sold by Oasis Brands, Paseo toilet paper and tissue products are, again according to WWF, made from tree pulp supplied by a company called Asia Pulp & Paper (APP).
Why does this matter? WWF estimates that "APP, its affiliates and suppliers have clear-cut 5 million acres of Sumatran forest wood" over the past 25 years. That land, before the trees were cut down, was habitat for Sumatran tigers and Asian elephants.
For its part, Oasis Brands says that Paseo products are made from sustainable paper. (Read their CEO's statement here
.) But they do gloss over the fact that native forests had to be clear-cut to make way for managed paper plantations.
What can you do? First of all, WWF suggests not buying Paseo products; that's a choice that's up to you. Second, they're asking people to take a pledge
to only buy paper or products that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
and are made with 100% recycled content. Finally, they suggest talking to your local retailers, restaurants and other establishments to see if they have a policy for using sustainable paper.
Outside of those suggestions, here's one more: no matter what else you do, try to use a little bit less paper. Maybe 40 pounds a year is enough?
Toilet paper might not seem like a big thing, but as you can see, it adds up. Make a difference by not flushing forest habitat down the toilet.