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Is Your Cold Warming the Planet?!

February 20, 2017

The weather is warming and you’re trying to kick that winter cold or making the transition to allergy season. Either way, each time you blow your nose in a disposable facial tissue, you might be contributing to climate change! Thankfully, you can slow the warming by changing tissue brands without paying more.

 

Klerifying Fact:  The disposable tissue was invented in 1924 by Kimberly-Clark. Before that people used handkerchiefs, their clothes or skin to wipe their noses. Yeah, that’s kind of gross.

 

How can something so small have such a big impact?

Each year, Americans use over 255 billion facial tissues!  That’s over 700 tissues or 7 boxes per person! 

 

You might not believe it, but that thin, seemingly harmless piece of paper used to manage snot from your colds is from trees. And it takes 90 years to grow the tree for one box of tissues from virgin forests. Trees are cut down and then processed to create pulp, which is then made into a facial tissue for you. Increasingly, more sustainable ingredients for tissue paper are recycled paper and bamboo. Bamboo requires less land than trees because bamboo grows faster and can be harvested.

 

Soft tissues have hard impacts

 

The soft tissues that feel so good on your nose come from virgin forests. That means the forests, even if they are well-managed, contribute to climate change by clearing massive amounts of land. Pulp production for paper products is a leading cause of deforestation and therefore climate change. Carbon emissions are released into the atmosphere every time a forest is cleared. In total, deforestation contributes 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, and deforestation for paper is the second leading cause!

 

 

 

 

 

Cool the Planet with your Cold

 

There are a few things you can do to cut down on your climate change contributions… Consider a cloth handkerchief, but if you want a disposable option, here are some brands to stick to and ones to stay away from:

 

😃  Green (Recycled fiber): Seventh Generation, Green Forest, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods 365

 

😐  Yellow (Certified well-managed virgin forests and maybe some other good stuff): Kleenex, Up & Up (Target), Home Sense (Kroger), NICE! (Walgreens)

 

😡  Red (clear cutting and warming the world): Great Value (Wal-Mart), Georgia-Pacific, Kirkland (Costco)

 

 

We did not make this up!!:

 

http://greengroundswell.com/paper-facial-tissue-history-and-environmental-impact/2013/12/05/

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/2015/forest-conservation-policy-APRIL-Indonesia/

https://news.mongabay.com/2016/04/grim-forecast-paper-giants-wood-supply-sumatra-raises-deforestation-fears/

https://phys.org/news/2016-04-deforestation-champion-indonesia-forests-peatlands.html

http://rainforests.mongabay.com/0807a.htm

http://www.triplepundit.com/special/sustainable-forestry-ip/deforestation-role-paper-products/

http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/2014-4-july-august/green-life/how-much-paper-does-one-tree-produce

http://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/global_warming/UCS_DriversofDeforestation_Chap7_Timber.pdf

http://www.triplepundit.com/special/sustainable-forestry-ip/deforestation-role-paper-products/

 

Photo credits:

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/113026679@N03/13860288593

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Deforestation_2074483b.jpg

 

 

 

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