October’s Thneed: Forests shouldn’t be wiped out to create tissue paper

October’s Thneed: Forests shouldn’t be wiped out to create tissue paper

Old-growth forests like this shouldn’t be wiped out to create tissue paper.

The quality of toilet paper is, shall we say, a topic of sensitive and very personal debate. 

One-ply, two-ply, three-ply. Soft, strong. Big rolls, small rolls. Scented, non-scented. Everyone has their own preferences.

But I think we can all agree that something as ephemeral as toilet paper — the ultimate single-use product — should be produced using the least amount of the most sustainable resources. (Better yet would be using less toilet paper and more bidets, but that’s a subject for another post.)

So, you’ll probably be infuriated to find out that Procter & Gamble makes its Charmin tissue paper out of trees from Canada’s ancient boreal forests.

That’s especially true if you’ve had the opportunity to walk in those forests or its neighbor in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest (which the Trump administration is now trying to open up for logging). “Awe inspiring” hardly describes the sensation. To think of those trees being turned into toilet paper is a revulsive mixture of the sacred and profane. 

The practice is right down there with axing California’s giant sequoias to make toothpicks

I’m no scientist, but I highly doubt that “virgin trees” need to be sacrificed to get Charmin’s supposed “squeezable softness.” They deserve to be preserved for their own sake. But it sure helps us humans when the trees are out there absorbing our carbon emissions, not sitting in our bathroom closets wrapped in plastic.

So, Procter & Gamble earns the Thneed Trophy for October 2019, for its insistence on cutting down the real-life equivalent of Dr. Seuss’ truffula trees to create something everyone wants, but nobody really needs.


The Thneed Trophy is awarded monthly by Environmental Action to a product that exemplifies the spirit of The Lorax’s “thneed”. It’s the thing that everyone wants but nobody needs, for which all of the Truffula Trees were cut down.  In other words, bad for the environment, with little or no redeeming social value.

This message is not associated with or endorsed by the creators or the publishers of “The Lorax”.