Facial tissues may not be something that we think of being as being complicated, but they are in fact quite labor intensive. Instead of choosing conventional brands, look for brands that use a high percentage of recycled content in order to cut down your contribution to old growth forest destruction. A large majority of the facial tissue products available on the market today are made from trees that were unsustainably harvested, leaving behind barren landscapes that are unable to support wildlife. Another problem with facial tissue is the way the pulp is processed. Chlorine dioxide is often used as a bleaching agent in facial tissue manufacturing. This process creates hundreds of chemicals that are released into the environment, including dioxin, a known carcinogen that creates ecological problems in the aquatic areas where the used water may end up.
The United States has the largest tissue market in the world, with the average American consuming close to 55 pounds of paper tissue products every year. They are followed closely by Canadians who use just under 50 pounds.Europeans trail behind using 35 pounds annually. The paper industry consumes 35% of all harvested trees every year, accounting for the harvesting of nearly 4 billion individual trees yearly.
One thing to try is to get paper made from recycled paper. Regardless of the brand you choose, make sure you verify what percentage of post-consumer fiber the product contains.PCW or Post-consumer waste is preferred to pre-consumer because it means support for community recycling programs. That way you get truly sustainably manufactured tissues.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) provides a very useful Facial Tissue Guide, neatly charting data on different brands of facial tissue, covering three important points: the bleaching process, the percent recycled and the percent of facial tissue made from post-consumer waste.
Also check to see how the product has been whitened, being careful to avoid products made with the help of chlorine bleach. Processed chlorine-free (PCF) is the designation to go for since it means no toxic chemicals ended up in any water supplies. Though elemental chlorine free (ECF) might seem like a good alternative it’s not, so steer clear of any brands that have that claim. You can also avoid chlorine completely by getting unbleached fiber. Though it may not seem as “clean” looking (quite often a beige or brown color), it is much better for you and the environment.
EnviroCitizen.org has found that keeping track of your paper habits is one of the best ways to live greener and smarter. All it takes is a little effort to get your lifestyle on the sustainable track and you can easily start with your tissue use.