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Why You Should Choose Recycled Products

The following post is from Emily of Live Renewed:

source: Jacopo O

Lately I’ve been convicted about something as I strive to continue finding places and ways to makes green changes around our home: the type of paper that we use in the bathroom.

Did you know that most regular toilet paper, paper towels and other paper products are made from virgin trees?  This means that 100-150 year old trees are cut down and made into convenience paper products so that we can use them once and throw them, or flush them, away.

I don’t mean to be rude, but should I really be wiping my bum with paper made from a 150 year old tree?  Is it so much more important that I use the cheapest, yet softest, TP I can find or that my choices help to save trees and forests from being cut down?

Each ton of virgin paper produced requires almost three times it’s weight in trees.  If every household in the U.S. would replace one roll of virgin toilet paper with a roll of recycled toilet paper, almost 425,000 trees would be saved. That’s a lot of trees.

A Better Choice

In our house, we use cloth instead of paper products all around the house, for cleaning, wiping little hands and faces after meals, as tissues, and even cloth diapers.  The kids and I also sometimes use cloth wipes in the bathroom (another topic for another day), which does help to cut down on the amount of toilet paper we use, but until now we have always bought and used conventional toilet paper. Now we have decided to make a better choice.

If you are concerned about the effect of your household’s paper consumption on the environment, but aren’t ready to switch over to cloth, or you use a combination of both cloth and paper, then I encourage you to consider switching to 100% recycled paper products such as paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper.

Choosing recycled content paper products means that no new trees have to be cut down to produce the paper that you will use once and then throw away, and that instead of filling up a landfill, old paper is given a new life.

source: JoePhoto

And you don’t have to stop with just those types of paper products.  You can find alternatives for so many of the different disposable products around the house.

  • If you need dishes for a big get together chose tree-free paper plates made bagasse, a sugarcane byproduct, plastic cups made from PLA, a material derived from corn, and cutlery made from switchgrass, all of which can be thrown in your compost pile instead of the trash when the party is over.
  • Line your garbage cans with garbage bags made from recycled plastic, for the trash that really must be thrown away.
  • Stock your back-to-school kiddos, or home office, with recycled products.  You can find everything from recycled copy or lined paper, recycled notebooks and binders, to recycled pens and pencils.
  • Instead of new plastic toys, check out the cool kids toys that are being made with recycled plastic and other materials.

Choosing to use recycled products not only saves the raw materials those products would have been made out of, it also uses less energy and water, and creates less air pollution, to make them, compared to their “virgin” counterparts. Buying and using recycled products also closes the recycling “loop” – you recycle items you’ve used in your home, those items are then made into new products, you buy recycled content products and recycle, or compost, them when you’re finished with them.

The one drawback to many of these recycled content products is that they are more expensive then the conventional alternatives.  Since I’m all about saving money while also going green, this is the part that used to concern me the most.

But, since I’ve been convicted about our virgin toilet paper use, I have changed my mindset about it.  The reality is that I am saving so much money every year by using cloth instead of paper in my home, I can turn around and use some of that savings to buy recycled content toilet paper and still come out ahead. And because we are also striving to use less, by using cloth in the bathroom, that will save us money as well.

It may seem like a small and simple thing to chose recycled toilet paper instead of conventional, but if we all strive to make this type of change in the products we use around our homes together we can make a big impact on our environment!

Have you considered using recycled content products around your home?

Emily McClements is passionate about living with compassion and caring for creation in a way that will impact the world. She is a blessed wife and mama to three young children, and blogs about her family’s journey toward natural and simple living at Live Renewed.