Choosing Recycled Toilet Paper Means Savings of 80 percent on Renewable Resources

According to Lucart estimates, following an EPD analysis, doubling the annual national consumption of recycled toilet paper could lead to an annual saving of over 5 million m3 of water and 400 thousand tonnes of wood.

On March 18, for the second consecutive year, World Recycling Day was celebrated. This is an event that aims to raise awareness about the key role that this practice plays in preserving the planet’s resources, and this year its theme was “recycling in the future”. Today, in fact, humans use the natural resources of the earth faster than they are able to recover, consuming 1.7 times the regeneration capacity of the planet.

Among these, one of the materials most used is wood which serves, among others, for producing the paper we use every day, including paper for hygienic-sanitary purposes: in Italy, in just one year, about 1.5 million tonnes of tissue paper for hygienic and sanitary use are produced and of these only 7 percent is produced with recycled materials. These figures show how, although Italy is one of the leading countries in Europe for the recycling of paper and cardboard, there is still much to be done to reduce the ecological footprint that man leaves on the planet.

During the EPD certification (Environmental Product Declaration) process on two toilet papers produced by the same Italian multinational, Lucart was able to ascertain the environmental advantages of toilet paper made using recycled materials compared with that produced starting from virgin materials.

In fact, for each tonne of recycled toilet paper produced, an environmental benefit can be observed:

a reduction of 80 percent in the consumption of renewable resources, with a saving of 406,000 kg of wood
a reduction of 38 percent in consumption of water resources
a saving of 404,000 kg of CO2, the gas that is one of the main culprits of climate change
“We have always maintained that because they cannot be further recycled, it is important that products such as toilet paper are made using recycled materials,”says Massimo Pasquini, CEO of Lucart. “We were however surprised to read the results of the environmental savings of recycled paper established by the EPD analysis we commissioned on some of our products. Saving more than 50 m3 of water per tonne of paper produced means that if the recycled products had more space in our shopping cart, perhaps doubling the amount of recycled toilet paper purchased for the same level of consumption, we could save a quantity of water that could fill 2,000 Olympic swimming pools, an incredible amount!”

“An ambitious but absolutely achievable result: for this to happen, however, it is necessary to implement a regulatory framework, harmonized at the European level that encourages the production and sale of recycled products.

“In this way, virtuous products would also find more space on supermarket shelves.
“Finally, purchases of sanitary products by public bodies with minimum environmental criteria should include a significant percentage of recycled paper. If separate waste collection is not followed by the production and purchase of recycled products, in fact, it becomes an activity with no added value,” concludes Pasquini.

In the process of implementing the EPD declaration and the LCA study which constitutes its scientific basis, Lucart availed itself of the technical and methodological support of a research team of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa and of Ergo, a spin-off company of the aforementioned university.