The Green Blog
How Can I Help the Environment When I’m Sick?

Ah…ah…ahhh..AH-CHOO!

It’s that time of year again, where the weather outside is frightful and everyone is keeping a close eye on who has a case of the common cold or flu.  Tissues are a must when it comes to a runny nose, but how is that little tissue hurting the environment?

Yes, even the humble tissue can be harmful to the environment. I was shocked to discover that the manufacturer of the tissues we purchase gains the pulp from old growth forests.   (ie. Kleenex, Charmin, and other big popular name brands) Imagine that -- the destruction of virgin forests just so I can blow my nose!  Not only that, but some manufacturers also use dangerous and highly toxic bleaching processes when making said tissues.

The problem is, you can't always trust what's written on the box.  Some manufacturers state that they source materials from renewable plantings and "sustainably managed forests," but they might be using the term rather loosely.  . 

The best thing to do is to look for solid statements such as "no bleaching," "unbleached" and "100 percent recycled paper" and others like these. If you're still not certain, most large companies offer consumer hotlines and you can gain clarification on their manufacturing processes. If they can't answer your questions, then that company is probably contributing to the destruction of old growth forests. 

So the next time you sneeze, be sure that you are looking out for those ancient forests.  Help the trees and purchase a pack of recylced tissues made with a minimum of 80% post consumer content. that have not been processed and bleached.  Click here to get a guide to buying recycled paper products for the home.