Advisory: New, NRDC “Issue with Tissue” report asks: Why are we flushing ancient forests down the toilet?

February 19, 2019

Scorecard ranks major toilet paper, tissue brands (including Charmin, Cottonelle, Angel Soft) according to sustainability; report highlights “tree-to-toilet” environmental harms, available recycled content alternatives

WASHINGTON, DC — Most Americans probably do not know that the toilet paper and tissues they use once briefly and then throw away come from ancient forests, and that far more sustainable options made from recycled sources are available. At 10:30 a.m. PT / 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, February 20, representatives and experts from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Cree Nation and will unveil a groundbreaking new report that exposes the practices of the American toilet paper and tissue industry and features a forest sustainability scorecard ranking the largest brands, including Charmin, Bounty, Puffs, Kleenex, Cottonelle, Scott, Brawny, Angel Soft, and Quilted Northern. 


Americans use three rolls of toilet paper a week on average – and most major brands use trees clear-cut from old-growth forests, making consumers unwittingly complicit in flushing forests down the toilet. To meet this demand, the great Canadian boreal (“the Amazon of the North”), is disappearing at the rate of seven NHL hockey rinks per minute – threatening Indigenous communities and species like the boreal caribou and exacerbating our climate crisis. Despite their unsustainable practices, leading toilet paper makers cling to their decades-old formulas that include zero recycled content. The good news is that there are solutions that reduce pressure on the forest: Toilet paper and tissues made from recycled content that avoids destroying the irreplaceable Amazon of the North and emits less than a third as much climate pollution.

Featuring the scorecard of top tissue paper brands, the NRDC and report looks at the tree-to-toilet lifecycle of tissue products, while focusing on the climate and forest impacts of the industry. To avoid the devastating consequences of clearcutting ancient forests for single-use tissues and toilet paper that are then thrown or flushed away, the report urges companies to tackle the problems their products cause for the planet and offers consumers guidance on how to push for change with their pocketbooks.


  • Tzeporah Berman, director, International Program,
  • Anthony Swift, director, Canada Project, NRDC
  • Shelley Vinyard, report co-author and Boreal Corporate Campaign Manager, NRDC
  • Deputy Grand Chief Mandy Gull, Cree Nation

WHEN: Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. PT / 1:30 p.m. ET

WHERE: Reporters can join this live, phone-based news conference (with full, two-way Q&A) by dialing 1-877-418-4267 for participants in the U.S. or 1-866-605-3852 for participants in Canada. Ask for the “Issue with Tissue” news event. A streaming audio recording of the news event will be available online as of 5 p.m. ET on February 20.

Media contact: Virginia Cleaveland, Press Secretary, virginia@stand.earth510-858-9902 (US) or 778-984-3994 (Canada)


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC. (formerly ForestEthics) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with offices in Canada and the United States that is known for its groundbreaking research and successful corporate and citizens engagement campaigns to create new policies and industry standards in protecting forests, advocating the rights of indigenous peoples and protecting the climate. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @standearth.