FAQ – Elemental Recycled Products

FAQ

  1. What’s so unsustainable about toilet paper made from trees?
  2. My toilet paper is made from sustainably forested trees, isn’t this just as sustainable as using recycled paper?
  3. I’m using toilet paper made from Bamboo, isn’t more sustainable than toilet paper made from trees?
  4. Wouldn’t it be more sustainable to re-use recycled paper than turn it into toilet paper and flush it into the sewage system?
  5. What is the difference between pre and post-consumer recycled material?

What’s so unsustainable about toilet paper made from trees?

Most toilet paper is not septic safe which means it does not fully decompose in the sewage system. Whatever cannot decompose is removed at a wastewater treatment plant and is often placed in a landfill from there.

My toilet paper is made from sustainably forested trees, isn’t this just as sustainable as using recycled paper?

Elemental applauds any efforts to improve sustainability. However, there is a big difference between a managed forest (those that are designed to logged) and a natural forest. Natural forest support a much broader array of biodiversity in plants, animals, insects and more. Also, trees in natural forest grow bigger, longer, stronger and more diverse which all positively impact the surrounding ecosystem.

I’m using toilet paper made from Bamboo, isn’t more sustainable than toilet paper made from trees?

Bamboo is a great material. However, all toilet paper made from bamboo (that we are aware of) is produced in China. This means it must be shipped across the ocean to reach the US market which dramatically increases the carbon footprint of the product. Plus, managed bamboo farms have the same disadvantages as managed forests

Wouldn’t it be more sustainable to re-use recycled paper than turn it into toilet paper and flush it into the sewage system?

Three things to consider:

  1. Our toilet paper is septic safe which means it decomposes completely within the sewage system. This means that the elemental nutrients of the paper (or wood in its original form) are returned to the ecosystem where nature will re-use them.
  2. Unfortunately, paper cannot be infinitely recycled. Each time it is recycled, the fibers are shortened and eventually they become unusable. Decomposing as toilet paper is a sustainable way to return these fibers to nature.
  3. Buying products made from recycled material, boosts the market for recycled material. This will encourage more people to recycle and more production of recycled materials for re-use.

What is the difference between pre and post-consumer recycled material?

Post-consumer recycled material is what most people typically think of when they think about recycling. It’s paper that has been used in a household or business and then put into a recycling bin and collected by a recycling company. Pre-consumer material never reaches a home or office. It's generally waste from an industrial production process. A common example is a bad run of packaging for breakfast cereal. If the printing on a box is too askew to be sold in the store, the manufacturer will catch this error before the boxes are filled with cereal. The faulty cardboard will get sent straight to a recycling facility to broken down and then reformed into new recycled paper.

Pre-paper is generally higher quality than post-consumer paper because it has not been exposed to contamination inherent in use at the home or in office. That said, post-consumer paper is a more sustainable input because the paper is getting used and adding value before it returns to the recycling cycle. By combining 20% pre-consumer paper with 80% post-consumer paper, our product optimizes for quality and sustainability.

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