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Too much virgin paper being flushed down the loo

The big manufacturers of tissue paper are not using enough recycled paper according to a study by conservation organisation WWF.

In a report looking at the five largest tissue manufacturers that supply about 70% of the European market – Procter and Gamble, SCA, Kimberly Clark, Metsa Tissue and Georgia Pacific – it found that the vast majority of tissue products contain low levels of recycled fibres.

WWF head of European Forest Programme Duncan Pollard said: “Everyday about 270,000 trees are effectively flushed down the toilet or end up as garbage around the world. Such a use of the forests is both wasteful and unnecessary.

“Manufacturers must use more recycled fibres in their tissue products as this means fewer trees will be cut down.”

WWF believes that high-quality virgin fibres are being taken directly from natural forests and plantations around the world, including Latin America, Canada, the US, South Africa, Russia and Asia.

The organisation argues that toilet paper and towels in offices, schools and hotels are made out of recycled fibres, and that there is no reason why it should be any different for the same products that are sold in supermarkets.

Pollard added: “Consumers have no idea that they may be threatening the world’s forests when they go to the bathroom.

“It is a myth that recycled tissue products are not of a high quality. After all, people use recycled products most of the day when they are out of their homes anyway.”

WWF has been in discussions with the companies listed above for a year to find out how much recycled content they are using. It found that SCA was best at working in a sustainable manner, while Kimberly Clark came bottom in its research.

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