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Blowing our noses on ancient trees

This Magazine Staff

So Toyota can think of a way to make an environmentally friendly hybrid car so cool and luxurious you need to sit on a waiting list for months before you are overcharged for one, but the makers of KLEENEX® can’t help clean our noses without destroying the planet?

A new Greenpeace campaign, featuring a giant box of KLEENEX® on wheels, is aimed straight at Kimberly-Clark, the soft-paper giant who, apparently, has not been making enough money off our colds and toilet habits to invest in recycled alternatives. According to Greenpeace, K-C is ripping down old-growth for their tissues – to the tune of 190 billion sheets of KLEENEX® brand tissue per year.

Here’s an explanation from the FAQ page on K-C’s own website, Kleenex.com:

I see a paper-recycling symbol on my KLEENEX® Tissue box. Is KLEENEX® Facial Tissue made out of recycled fiber?

This symbol refers only to the content of the carton itself. The KLEENEX® Facial Tissue inside is made from 100 percent virgin fiber and contains no recycled fiber. Virgin fiber is used in our tissue because it provides the superior softness consumers expect from a premium facial tissue product such as KLEENEX® Facial Tissue.

Oh, I see. It’s the rapacious consumer demanding that only virgin fiber be used. That’s fortunate, because if it was just a matter of K-C choosing profit over innovation they’d be looking pretty bad right now.

Of course, if you live in Toronto, the city will recycle your tissues into garden compost, whichever brand you use. Doesn’t save the old trees, but it might help a new one grow.

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