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Frequency: Every 6 months
Today we are thrilled to report Cloud Paper has been ranked the best bamboo toilet paper by the annual NRDC (National Resource Defense Council) Issue With Tissue Scorecard 2022.
The NRDC evaluates bamboo brands on two main factors: FSC-certification (whether or not the bamboo was sustainably sourced), and bleaching method. In 2022, Cloud Paper has both FSC-certification, and use elementally chlorine-free (ECF) bleaching, making us the most sustainable bamboo brand on the market in 2022.
The Canadian boreal forest is the main source of virgin tree fiber used to make tissue products such as toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissues in North America. The clearcutting of the boreal forest for these products has devastating impacts on biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and climate change.
For far too long, we wiped without thinking about where our tissue comes from, or the effect it has on our environment. Thanks to reports like the Issue With Tissue, and the 2021 UN report on climate change, consumers are better equipped than ever with the knowledge and sustainable alternatives to make conscious changes in our daily habits.
Below, we are going to go into detail on a few main points:
Stretching from coast-to-coast, the boreal forest is both the largest intact forest left in the world, and the most carbon-dense. Home to Indigenous communities, native wildlife, and migratory birds, it plays a critical part in maintaining a healthy ecosystem not just in Canada or North America, but for the entire planet.
The boreal forest is mainly comprised of conifers and birch trees, which is important because conifers are softwood trees. You are probably familiar with the terms hardwood & softwood to some extent. Hardwood trees are typically logged for building materials, for example Oak, Maple, or Hickory are often used for hardwood floors. Softwood, as the name implies, are soft, and thus have historically been considered a "great" choice for the production of toilet paper, where softness is prized.
Along with being home to a huge amount of biodiversity, the boreal forest also holds more carbon in its vegetation and soil than any other forest in the world. "Per acre, it holds nearly twice as much carbon as the Amazon" (The Issue With Tissue 2.0). Carbon sequestration works like this:
Clearcutting forests interrupts carbon sequestration by drastically reducing the number of old growth trees which are highly efficient at absorbing carbon. Perhaps more alarmingly, the process of clearcutting disturbs the carbon-rich topsoils, which releases the carbon stores back into the atmosphere (remember, the majority of a forest's carbon stores are in the soil). It is estimated that at least 26 million metric tons of carbon is released every year due to logging activity in the boreal.
This knowledge takes on new urgency with the 2021 UN report on climate change, which unequivocally states that human activity has released devastating amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, which has directly caused an global temperature increase of 2 degrees Fahrenheit, and fueled extremely deadly weather events. Unless we rapidly and drastically cut our carbon emissions—such as clearcutting the boreal which produces "the equivalent to more than a year of emissions from all of Canada's passenger vehicles" (The Issue with Tissue 2.0)—our current climate crisis will only continue to accelerate.
When we say "Big Paper" we are talking about the top three producers of tissue products in the United States, as named in the 2022 Issue with Tissue scorecard. All of these brands make the majority of their tissue products from 100% virgin forest fiber, meaning there is no recycled or alternative fibers in the product, while one brand this year expanded their product line to include a recycled option.
In a tactic called "Greenflushing", Big Paper utilizes a repertoire of misleading claims to convince the public that their products are more sustainable and less destructive than they truly are. Some of the most common claims are:
If this report has compelled you to change your own consumer habits, thankfully there are now some great alternatives to traditional toilet paper and paper towels. The two that we are going to explore here are toilet paper made with recycled content, and toilet paper made with bamboo.
Toilet paper with recycled content has a smaller carbon footprint than traditional toilet paper, producing about one-third of the emissions compared to 100% virgin fiber toilet paper. Furthermore, there are two types of recycled content; pre-consumer and post-consumer. Pre-consumer recycled content comes from cast-offs and waste from the paper and pulping process, while post-consumer recycled content comes from our recycling programs. While both are preferable to virgin fiber, toilet paper made from post-consumer recycled content is the more sustainable choice. In the 2021 NRDC Scorecard, only brands with recycled content can score above 500 points, or a "B+".
For the second time in report card history, the NRDC has included bamboo brands in their annual scorecard. Cloud Paper is thrilled to receive the highest score possible for bamboo brands, and the only bamboo brand to achieve 500 points. Toilet paper made from bamboo is the route that we at Cloud Paper decided to go, for three compelling reasons.
If you have read this far, you probably feel the same way we do about ending deforestation caused by paper products, and there are some steps that you can take to help usher the world towards a more sustainable future.
Issues as massive as deforestation and climate change can often seem daunting, if not impossible to address, and may have you thinking "nothing I do is enough to make a difference." However, if you only takeaway one thing from this blog post, let it be this
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
-Anne Marie Bonneau
NRDC: The Issue with Tissue 2021
NRDC: The Issue with Tissue 2.0
Bamboo plantations: An approach to Carbon sequestration
Biodiversity in Bamboo Forests: a policy perspective for long term sustainability
Managing woody bamboos for carbon farming and carbon trading