US Toilet Paper Choices Contributing To Indonesian Rainforest Destruction

Leonid Mamchenkov/CC BY 2.0

WWF continues putting pressure on Asia Pulp & Paper: Their newly released report, Don't Flush Tiger Forests finds that toilet paper, paper towels and tissues made from APP fiber are rapidly expanding into US supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels under the Paseo and Livi brands.

APP is the fifth-largest tissue producer in the world. Despite continued pressure from environmental groups, and corporate statements to the contrary, APP and its affiliates continue expanding into new areas of Indonesian rainforest.

WWF reports that since APP began operating in Indonesia, back in 1984, an area of rainforest on Sumatra totaling 5 million acres have been cleared—an area WWF highlights as being larger than the state of Massachusetts.

This rainforest destruction has multiple negative environmental and social impacts: Increased carbon emissions, destruction of wildlife habitat (in turn often infringing on local people's rights and livelihoods), and further endangering species such as Sumatran tigers, elephants and orangutan.

Currently, eight large supermarket chains pledged to stop carrying APP-sourced paper products after being contacted by WWF: BI-LO, Brookshire Grocery Company, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Kmart, Kroger, Supervalu, and Weis.

Twelve companies either did not respond to WWF or refused to stop carrying APP products: Albertsons, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, IGA, Ingles, K-VA-T, Lowes Food Stores, Marsh, Price Chopper, Roundy's, Save Mart, Spartan.

Briefly taking this news item in a different direction: Perhaps it's again time to reconsider our toilet habits, and take up the question of washing or wiping? After all washing is arguably more sanitary and, perhaps counterintuitively at first, actually uses less water overall due to the amount of water needed to manufacture toilet paper. Try it. Once you master a short learning curve, I think you'll prefer washing.

Tags: Bathrooms | Deforestation