How many trees are used to make toilet paper

10 Facts About Paper Waste and 7 Ways to Reduce It – LastObject

Wrapping paper, books, paintings, maps of the world. All of these items are made using paper. But for all their important use cases comes a footprint as well. A footprint that was a lot more sustainable when there were far fewer human beings on the earth. There are eight billion people and rising, which has changed things. Below, we take a look at just how big the footprint of paper waste really is.



Paper Waste: The Facts & Statistics
  1. The paper industry creates the third largest amount of greenhouse gasses in Canada. In the US it is the sixth largest producer of greenhouse emissions.
  2. Around 40% of all deforestation is caused by the paper and pulp industries.
  3. Paper production causes significant amounts of air pollution. In the US in 2015, it was the second largest cause of air pollution by industry.
  4. It takes over 13 liters of water (or three gallons) to make a single piece of A4 paper.
  5. Over 380 gallons of oil is used to produce a single ton of paper.
  6. On average, office workers were printing fifty unnecessary pieces of paper every day less than just 15 years ago.
  7. Around 26% of the material at landfills is waste paper.



Toilet Paper Wastage

Approximately 27,000 trees are cut down every day just to make toilet paper. Over seven billion rolls of toilet paper are sold in America alone each year. This amounts to around 141 rolls per person, or 12.7 kilograms (28 lbs.) of paper. Comparable figures can be found in many major European countries. In Germany, they use 134 rolls per person every year. Similarly, in the UK it’s 127 rolls per person annually. Clearly, this is an unsustainable practice.

That being said, many other countries do a better job at paper usage and wastage. This is often due to the use of alternative hygiene practices, such as bidets. To lessen this environmentally devastating practice, more people need to adopt similar approaches.


What To Do To Reduce The Paper Waste


1. Recycle All Paper Waste

The most urgent step that needs to be taken is to start recycling all paper wastes. The more that can be recycled, the more trees that can be saved. Given the worrying rate of our planet’s deforestation, this is a vital adjustment. It will also reduce the levels of air and water pollution that the process of making paper creates.

2. Go Paperless - Review & Store Documents Digitally

In the long term, it’s vital that everyone makes the switch from paper to digital documents. Before you print anything out, consider whether you really need a physical copy. In most cases, you can now just rely on e-documents. Books can be read on kindles, phones, or tablets. E-tickets can be used for many public modes of transportation. Wherever possible, stick to a digital rather than a paper document. This will dramatically reduce paper wasting.

3. Use Recycled Paper At Home And In The Office

In the rare instances where you do need to print out documents, only use recycled paper. This way, at the very least you’ll not be contributing to deforestation. Try to encourage your place of work to only purchase recycled paper too.

4. Use Both Sides When Printing & Copying

Relatedly, when you can’t avoid printing or copying, be sure to use both sides of the paper. While this may seem unimportant, doing this halves the amount of paper you use. Over the long term, this can save large amounts of paper from being wasted.

5. Adjust Fonts & Formatting To Limit Wasted Space

Another way to reduce the volume of paper you use when printing and copying is to adjust the typography. Pick a font that reads well even when small, and then lower its size as much as possible. Thereafter, adjust the margins so that they’re narrower. It will allow you to fit more content onto each individual page.

6. Reuse Paper Whenever Possible

Once a paper document has served its purpose, don’t immediately send it to the recycling bin. You can repurpose it first, thereby getting more use out of it. For instance, you can use it to take minutes during a meeting. If you enjoy drawing, use it as a blank canvas for your art. Just still be sure you do recycle the paper once you’re completely finished with it.

7. Buy Products With The Least Packaging

Always look for the products that come with the least amount of packaging. There are now plenty of companies that are environmentally conscious. As such, they’ll try to limit the waste their products will create. It’s also a good idea to buy products in higher volumes where possible. This cuts down on the overall amount of packaging over time.

Paper Waste: Solving The Problem

As this article has demonstrated, the world is facing a serious problem with paper waste. This is contributing to the climate crisis through deforestation and pollution. If we carry on at the current rate, we risk causing irreparable damage.

However, there are things people can do to alleviate these problems. By following the steps above, you’ll be going some way towards helping divert a catastrophe. Consider getting a bidet instead of using toilet paper, switching to digital documents instead of paper ones, and always reuse and recycle paper.

By following these simple guidelines, we’ll dramatically reduce our paper use. Let’s save the world together, starting with less paper wasted.

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How Many Trees Does It Take To Make 1 Roll Of Toilet Paper?

Per capita toilet paper consumption is highest in North America.

Toilet paper is one of the most important inventions in the history of human societies. The Chinese were the first society recorded to have used paper for hygiene purposes in the 6th century CE. The Chinese were mostly responsible for the advancement in toilet paper since in the 14th century, and there was the mass manufacture of toilet paper in Zhejiang province. Apart from the Chinese, other individuals who contributed to the invention of the toilet paper include Joseph Gayetty and Seth Wheeler. Like other paper products, toilet paper is made from trees. Today, global toilet paper consumption per capita is just under 4 kilograms in contrast to North America where it is 23 kilograms per capita. It is estimated that a single tree can make 100 pounds or almost 1,500 rolls of toilet paper.

Trees and the Production of Toilet Paper

According to industry experts, a single tree can be used to make nearly 100 pounds of toilet paper with each roll weighing about 0. 5 pounds. Due to the difference in the size and shape of the trees, most mathematicians prefer to use the volume of wood in calculating the number of toilet rolls that a tree can produce. Mathematicians at Utopia Mechanicus indicated that a single cubic foot of wood could produce roughly 40-80 rolls of paper. Despite the calculations, they noted that some factors could affect the mass of the wood thus changing the number of toilet paper rolls produced. One of the factors that can affect the mass of the wood is the drying of the wood which reduces its moisture content. According to engineering toolbox, when a piece of wood is dried, and the moisture content reduces by 20%, the weight reduces by approximately 50%. Another factor that affects the mass of the wood is the type of tree as different trees produce wood of different mass. Taking these factors into consideration, calculating the number of toilet paper rolls that a tree can produce is exceptionally difficult. Utopia Mechanicus estimate that a 40-foot tall pine tree that's perfectly conical and has a diameter of 1. 5 feet at ground level could produce 1,440 rolls. However, perfectly conical trees do not exist as most trees have a nearly uniform width until the top when they suddenly taper off.

The Environmental Impact of Toilet Paper

Because of the significant toilet paper use around the world, a large number of trees have been cut down to produce toilet paper. The rapid rate of deforestation has had a significant impact on the global climate patterns as it leads to a reduction in the amount of rainfall in some areas. The toilet paper industry has put in place some measures to reduce the environmental impact of toilet paper production, which include the use of recovered fibers as raw materials in the production of toilet paper as well as the use of biofuels to reduce the use of carbon fuels and lower their carbon emissions.

Increases in the Use of Toilet Paper

The Worldwatch Institute indicates that the number of people using toilet paper around the world has increased significantly. The increase has been attributed mainly to the rise in western culture.

Benjamin Elisha Sawe in Environment

Toilet paper manufacturing

There is no standardization of square or roll sizes, so words like "mega roll" or "double roll" mean nothing. Instead, if you want to compare prices, look at the cost and number of layers, that is, the thickness of toilet paper, at this link.

When considering costs, keep in mind that when going to the bathroom you will use fewer sheets of 3-ply toilet paper than single-ply due to superior cleaning and absorbent properties.

The vast majority of toilet paper is made from the pulp of virgin trees. Yes, we cut down trees for all those toilet paper rolls (toilet paper production consumes 27,000 trees a day).

The good news is that 1 tree can provide 50 kg of toilet paper. It's also good to know that trees are a renewable resource and most US companies plant trees after they've taken mature trees.

Pulp is made from trees by grinding virgin wood into small chips. On virgin trees, the bark is first removed and then it is passed through a chopper. The result is a pile of wood chips and sawdust that are ready for the next step.

Toilet paper is also made from recycled paper and hemp, but these are much rarer and require a different type of processing. Using recycled paper probably seems like the perfect solution to save forests, however the process requires extra steps such as separating non-metal waste and removing ink.

After the pulp has been prepared, it is placed in a vat where it is mixed with water and chemicals. Very slowly, the pulp breaks down into cellulose, fibers and lignin, and eventually the soft pulp can be separated from the water.

The flesh is no longer firm so it can be shaped properly. But before that happens, it needs to be cleaned.

Rinse and Bleach

If you have white toilet paper, chances are it's bleached. Yes, toilet paper is bleached to achieve an ultra-white appearance.

The lignin that helps hold the fibers together in the wood is also removed because it tends to turn yellowish over time.

If you used organic or vegan toilet paper, it was probably brown because it bypassed the bleaching step that most toilet paper goes through.

Organic and vegan toilet paper is also less soft due to the lack of chemicals in the manufacturing process.

Is it 1 ply, 2 ply or 3 ply?

Thickness and number of sheets matter. If it is 3-ply, the toilet paper roll size will be about 3 times larger than 1-ply.

Is there a design on paper?

Many toilet paper companies will have their logo on the sheets. When the toilet paper roll, the logo can be pressed on the sheet.

What is the perforated sheet size?

One standard sheet of toilet paper is 20 x 20 cm, however in recent decades we have begun to see smaller sheet sizes. This is done by toilet paper companies to save money and maximize profits.

The roll is cut to fit a toilet paper roll

The last step in the toilet paper manufacturing process is to cut the large roll into sizes that will be sold. When this happens, the toilet paper may be packaged. Sometimes some rolls have errors and can be returned to the beginning of the toilet paper manufacturing process.

What to do if toilet paper comes from a recycled source

Ideally, all toilet paper should be recycled. It shouldn't be necessary to use virgin trees to make a product that simple.

Schools dispose of hundreds of kilograms of paper waste every day, and homeowners throw away junk mail. Wouldn't it be great if all that paper could be reused to make toilet paper?

Although the recycling process is useful for reducing waste, it is horribly inefficient. Toilet paper companies have to separate the metal waste from the paper, then they have to remove the ink and they can start the pulp manufacturing process.

From log to roll: how is toilet paper made?

Toilet paper is a truly consumer product. It is this product that has been produced at a plant in the Leningrad Region for more than half a century. For half a century, the production of paper has changed - it has become softer, and the colors of the rolls have become more diverse. The MIR 24 correspondent talks about the history of the appearance of toilet paper, as well as about its production in the 20th century and today.


In the morning, spruce wood is brought to the mill. By rail, it is delivered here from all over the north-west of Russia - from Karelia, Arkhangelsk, Vologda. The tree is unloaded and stacked in piles on the "exchange" - the place where the raw materials are stored.

Trunks up to 70 cm in diameter are waiting for their turn here. They are not suitable for furniture production. But for paper they are just right. The “sawmill” enters the work - a site where the logs undergo primary processing. They are divided into parts and sent to the wood preparation shop. The barking drum starts to make noise. So much so that you can't hear your own voice. Therefore, the workers here exchange gestures - turn it on, turn it off, add power. Water is supplied to the drum. Under its pressure, the trunks rub against each other, the bark is removed. Smooth and clean - in this form, the tree is literally a few minutes. Further along the conveyor it follows to the chipper. The output is local "gold" - wood chips. Almost three thousand cubic meters of chopped wood is stored in the open area of ​​the plant. The standard is chips with a thickness of 25 millimeters, no more and no less. After sorting, the pulp base is sent to the brewhouse. The first stage is over.

Ask for Hackle

Toilet paper was officially patented in 1857. In England, this personal hygiene item was first produced by James Alcock. True, the prudish British were at first embarrassed to buy such an “intimate” product. In order not to go broke, Alcock had to print the following name on the package: "Paper curlers."

At the same time as England, toilet paper began to be produced in the USA. Joseph Gayetti was the first to do this, he sold goods in his own store in Manhattan. The American packed paper in boxes of a thousand sheets each and sold for one dollar (an impressive amount at that time). On each sheet was printed the name and surname of the manufacturer - so much Mr. Gayetti was proud of his "invention".

German Hans Klenk also succeeded in the production of toilet paper. In 1928, he created the Hackle company, which produced rolls more familiar to modern consumers. True, at that time, Europeans were still embarrassed by the name of this product. To solve this problem and increase sales, the enterprising German came up with a slogan for his company, which read: “Ask for Hackle and you don’t have to say toilet paper.

Giant rolls

Pulp production is the next step in the mill. This is a closed and continuous process. Boilers here smoke around the clock. Their work is controlled by monitors. Pressure and temperature readings are displayed on the screens. The heat inside the boilers rises to 155 degrees. Soda, sulfur and the “secret ingredient” - bisulfite acid are added to the wood chips. It gives the paper softness and splendor.

When the pulp is ready, it looks like a pureed apple. Within eight hours, it is bleached and cleaned of chemicals. Resin is removed so that subsequently the web does not stick to the shafts. Now water is pumped out of the mass using a pump. Then the local "loom" - a paper machine - enters the work. It is on it that a thin layer of future products is formed. The cruising speed is almost one kilometer per minute.

It turns out a four-meter roll. This is the "base paper" - then napkins, paper towels and other goods will be made from it. The color depends on the dye. Mostly pastel shades are used here. The most popular are turquoise and yellow. Workers at the enterprise control a crane with hooks using a remote control. They remove the giant from the car and give him a solemn flight over the workshop. Now the product needs to be "reduced", cut into formats, and sealed. Part of the rolls will be sent to customers from the Czech Republic, Germany, Belarus. The rest will be left at the plant for the final stage in the workshop of sanitary and household products.

Soviet pipifax

In the USSR, newspapers were used instead of toilet paper for a long time. This practice was highly unhygienic due to the presence of toxic substances in the printing ink. One of the first citizens of the country who saw the "outlandish" roll was Vladimir Mayakovsky. This happened during his trip to Paris in the late 1920s. The poet mentioned the product in his poem “Parisian”: “She, having smiled at her peeling mouth, powders it with powder, sprinkles it with perfume, gives pipifax and wipes off the puddle. ” It was “pipifax” that was then called toilet paper in Europe.

In 1928, the Pulp and Paper Mill was founded in Syasstroy. At the time of launch, it became the largest pulp production enterprise in the union. 40 years later, in 1968, the first roll of toilet paper in the USSR was produced here. Single-layer, gray, then there was no talk of softness at all. A batch of 31 million pieces was instantly distributed throughout the union. True, a significant problem arose - the citizens did not have the slightest idea how to properly use the "novelty". Then I had to additionally print the "instructions" that were attached to the product.

In addition to rolls, the plant launched the production of two-layer napkins, sheet towels, as well as feminine hygiene products and baby diapers. Toilet paper at the enterprise occupied five production lines. Much of the work had to be done by hand. For example, the "extreme" sheet of paper (which, when used, became the first) was glued by workers at the machine. Then the roll was wrapped in a package and put either in boxes or in plastic bags. It is noteworthy that 80 percent of the employees at that time were girls.

Roll and core

Today toilet paper is produced in two and three layers. Most of the work is done by machines. Shop staff (now mostly men) place the roll on the roll of an automated machine. Operators set the necessary parameters - the number of sheets, the distance between the tear lines. The cloth passes station of a stamping and a lamination. A drawing is applied to the top layer - butterflies, patterns, the customer's logo. The bottom layer is micro-embossed. A sleeve (a cardboard sleeve that remains when the roll ends) is fed into the machine. Depending on the requirements of the order, a flavoring agent can be applied inside. Then the paper will smell like strawberries, peaches or even violets. The canvas is wound onto the sleeve. Logs are obtained - long rolls of paper. The final touch and the machine glues the very “extreme” sheet.

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