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Does Your Tissue Come From an Ancient forest?
By Terri Wentworth-Davis   View more articles by this author
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March 17

Is your tissue use destroying the environment? Did you know that many of the tissue products we buy are made from ancient forests and are produced using chlorine? Or that a forested area the size of a soccer field is lost every 2 seconds to produce these items? Ancient forests are threatened throughout the world- nearly four fifths of all ancient forests are gone-forever.

What’s wrong with chlorine? Using chlorine to bleach paper products is the number one source of dioxin contamination. According to the Washington Toxics Coalition, dioxin is among the most toxic substances known to science and causes cancer, genetic and reproductive defects, and learning disabilities. More than 95% of people tested in the U.S. were found to have it in their body tissues. Dioxin builds up in the fatty tissues of fish and increases in concentration as it works its way up the food chain to us (WA Toxics).

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself, your family, and the environment. Tissue brands that are the most forest-friendly (recycled) and chlorine free are Green Forest, 365, Natural Value, and Seventh Generation. Brands that use ancient trees and bleach their products with chlorine include: Kleenex, President’s Choice, Charmin, Cottonelle, Purex, Scott, Puffs, Scotties, and Bounty. Look for the recycled content of the product and check the post-consumer recycled content. The higher the post-consumer percentage the less likely ancient forests were used to produce it. 

Here are some interesting factoids about disposable tissue products from Seventh Generation you can use.

If every household in the U.S. replaced just one-

  • 12-roll package of 400-sheet virgin fiber (non-recycled) bathroom tissue with one equal package of recycled rolls, we could save 4,490,000 trees and avoid 275,700 pounds of pollution.
  • roll of 70 sheet virgin fiber paper towels with one equal roll of recycled paper, we could save 196 million gallons of water, a year’s supply for 1,500 families of four.
  • box of 175 count facial tissues with one equal box of recycled tissues, we could save 420,000 cubic feet of landfill space, equal to more than 620 full garbage trucks.


Want to do even more? Let’s begin reducing our reliance on oil. Try the following.

According to Seventh Generation, if every household in the U.S. replaced just one-

  • bottle of 28 oz. petroleum based dishwashing liquid with a vegetable-based product, we would save 118,700 barrels of oil--enough to heat and cool 6,800 U.S. homes for a year. (Most, if not all, of our detergents are petroleum based).
  • bottle of 100 oz. 2x ultra petroleum-based liquid laundry detergent product with a 100-oz. plant-based product, we could save 466,000 barrels of oil, enough to heat and cool 26,800 U.S. homes for a year.
  • box of 48 oz. petroleum based powder laundry detergent with a vegetable-based product, we could save 96,000 barrels of oil, enough to heat and cool 5,500 U.S. homes for a year.
  • bottle of 32 oz. petroleum based all-purpose cleaner with a renewable resource based product, we could save 6,800 barrels of oil a year, enough to heat and cool 390 U.S. homes for one year.
  • bottle of 32 oz. solvent based glass and surface cleaner with a solvent-free product, we could prevent 11 million pounds of volatile organic compounds from being released into our environment.


Each one of us can make a difference by simply changing our consumer habits. Buy cloth napkins, use cloth towels for clean up, and reduce your use of petroleum-based products. Let’s start the new year and the new decade with positive steps to heal our environment.

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