Toilet paper only accounts for 5 percent of the U.S. forest-products industry. Paper and cardboard packaging makes up 26 percent of the industry, although more than half is made from recycled products. Newspapers account for 3 percent.
Still, environmentalists say 5 percent is too much, and they are pushing tissuers to switch from the ultra-soft wipers to their recycled counterparts.
Or what you may know as sandpaper.
The Washington Post's David A. Fahrenthold jokingly notes that manufacturers of the blankety-fluffy rolls are running out of synonyms for "soft," pointing out that "Quilted Northern Ultra Plush is the first big brand to go three-ply and three-adjective."
But this is no laughing matter for groups such as Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
It's wipe or death!
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Allen Hershkowitz, an NRDC senior scientist, tells Fahrenthold that pillowy peach paper is "like the Hummer product for the paper industry. We don't need old-growth forests . . . to wipe our behinds."
Have you seen my behind, Al?
Greenpeace spent 4 1/2 years attacking Kimberly-Clark, the makers of Kleenex and Cottonelle toilet paper, for getting wood from old-growth forests in Canada before announcing last month that an agreement had been forged that will lead to greener practices at the tissue titan.
Of course, were we ever to run out of wood we could always find alternative uses for the corn cobs discarded while making ethanol. Talk about recycling!