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Kimberly Clark Tries, But Can Do Better

Pretty soon you may be blowing your nose and wiping your behind with a more eco-friendly tissue. The Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a giant in the paper industry, has agreed to begin using more recycled paper in its products. The paper company is finally surrendering to suggestions from Greenpeace to stop using old-growth timber for production of paper products. According to an August 5, 2009, article from the Washington Post, in return, Greenpeace has agreed to end their 4-year “Kleercut’ campaign which attacked Kimberly-Clark’s detrimental practices.

Although the agreement does sound promising, the company stated that only 40 percent of its wood would be from recycled paper or sustainable forests. 40 percent? This may be better than nothing, but it is still not enough. What does KC have to lose from using recycled paper? Forests that have taken hundreds of years of grow? National parks? Backyards? Playgrounds? Trees are not easily renewable resources-they take decades, if not centuries to grow. With millions of Kleenex users around the country, millions of trees are sacrificed for nothing more than convenience. Back in the day, people had to use handkerchiefs and they didn’t drop dead doing so. I’m not saying we go back to horse-drawn buggies and hoop skirts, but we can be a little nicer to Mother Nature and it doesn’t take that great of a sacrifice.

Despite their ‘revolutionary’ announcement, Kimberly-Clark can do more to mitigate their use of old-growth lumber. What is worse is that they do not plan on using 100 percent recycled paper in the future because it would be too coarse for American consumers. Whatever I am relieving my mucus in does not to be a satin pillow. Maybe that’s just me.

Ultimately, more pressure needs to be put on Kimberly-Clark to make their products content include more than 40 percent recycled material. Recycled paper is already there. No trees need to be cut, run through a mill, made into paper. KC pretty much has there work cut out for them. So, although 40 percent is better than nothing, KC can definitely step it up.  If they can’t do 100, let’s aim for something lower. How about 99.9?


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