Thursday, March 26, 2009

Carbon Fast for Lent: Don't Flush Trees

“Source paper, tissue, toilet paper and wood that is recycled or has been accredited by the Forest Stewardship Council — this ensures it has come from responsibly managed sustainable forests or confirms that it is recycled: in the UK at

Is this going to be an ode to toilet paper — a first for this blog? Yep, it is! When I lived in NYC, the 24-hour Korean market on the corner was the closest and most convenient store when one ran out of things late at night and/or was too lazy to walk all the way to the grocery store. The cheapest TP they had was a brand I’d never heard of called Marcal. This was also stocked at the little bodegas in the neighborhood — I thought it was just a bargain brand that was especially popular with immigrant communities. It was months before I noticed Marcal wasn’t just super cheap: it was 100% recycled. And Marcal has been making recycled paper products for almost 60 years — long before this was common or popular.

After I moved to the Midwest this brand was harder to find but our employee-owned discount grocery carries it — still very cheap — and I stock up every six weeks or so when I trek to that side of town. I see that the company is revamping their web site and re-focusing themselves as an eco-friendly company. I just think it’s neat that they initially made the decision to go green, in 1950 (!) for goodness sake, just because it made more financial sense. I’m also happy to see a company that caters to lower income shoppers and is also environmentally friendly, which is not a frequent combination.

Today’s mitzvah: According to the Natural Resources Defense Council,
if every household in the U.S. replaced just one roll (500 sheets) of virgin-fiber toilet paper with 100% recycled TP, we would save almost half a million trees. Check out NRDC, or download Greenpeace’s pocket-sized Recycled Tissue Guide and Toilet Paper Guide for recycled ratings and rankings. It’s designed to take to the store with you.

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