Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Recycled Toiletpaper? Eew!

In a recent conversation with my students, when it was mentioned that a local company uses recycled hand towels and toilet paper, I could see the peculiar looks around the room. When asked what their idea of recycled toilet paper was, well....you can image...some students thought that perhaps it was used toilet paper placed in a bin for recycling, just like cans, glass, plastic, and paper. "Hmmm," I thought, "we need to talk."

Paper that comes 'straight from the tree' is referred to as virgin pulp paper. Paper can then be placed in a recycling bin destined for another life. Paper can generally be recycling 5-7 times. But with each recycling, the paper fibers become weaker. Through a sifting process, the stronger pulp can be pulled out and, in it's second life, paper can still be paper. However, by the time the paper goes through several lifecycles, the fibers are weak and brittle and are used for hand towels, facial tissue, toilet tissue, and similar products. For a detailed description of how paper is recycled, visit the TAPPI website.

So don't be afraid to purchase towel and tissue products made from post-consumer recycled material. It's not "icky" at all and it is good for the environment!

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