Americans use more toilet paper than anyone else in the world, helping destroy the habitats of native people who live where it is sourced and contributing to global warming, a research study says.
US consumers use roughly three rolls of toilet paper a week, accounting for a fifth of the world's tissue consumption, according to the report by environmental groups Stand.earth and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Single-use tissue products such as toilet paper used in the United States are made from wood pulp, mostly derived from logging in the old-growth boreal forest in Canada, where logging companies clear cut more than a million acres (405,000 hectares) every year.
The forest plays a key role in combating global warming as it absorbs and stores carbon dioxide.
Logging releases that carbon into the atmosphere. Canada's forest area has declined more than nine per cent since 2000 from logging, the study said.
The NRDC singled out giant US tissue producers Procter & Gamble Co., Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Georgia-Pacific for using largely virgin fibre wood pulp in their products rather than recycled content.
"The average American consumer doesn't think about how their toilet paper is made," said Shelley Vinyard, a co-author of the report and campaign manager of the NRDC's boreal corporate campaign.
"We can't afford this old-fashioned and out-dated approach."
The boreal forest in Canada is home to more than 600 communities of indigenous people whose traditional ways of life are threatened by intensive logging, the report said.
Per capita, US consumers use about 141 toilet paper rolls a year, compared with the United Kingdom at 127, Japan at 91 and France at 71, the report said.
Australian Associated Press