Saturday, January 2, 2010

Which Brand Should Mom Buy?

Mom spent today shopping for toilet paper. I'm not kidding. She usually stocks up on toilet paper but she's really been slacking lately. Blame it on the weather or her hormones, I keep hearing that we're almost out of the stuff all the time. This of course does not affect me. I could care less if we run out but if we do the proverbial s**t is going to hit the fan.

Mom used to buy this brand of toilet paper. She would buy it at our local grocery store, Jewel. For some reason, Jewel stopped selling it in November. Why? Probably because people weren't buying it. I'm not sure why people weren't buying it but Mom tells me it's because it's made from recycled paper. That's a good thing, right? Not to everyone.

I've posted before about buying paper products that are made from recycled paper. This is called closing the loop. It's one thing to recycle paper but if you aren't buying products made from that same recycled paper then you aren't closing the loop. Your loop may be half closed but you can close it completely simply by buying the right products.

Now that Jewel doesn't sell this toilet paper, Mom has been on a mission to find a replacement paper. She has been buying the Trader Joe's brand for a couple of months, but she knows there are other brands out there and that there's probably even brands that she doesn't know about. So today she went on a hunt to track down toilet paper. Sounds like a good time, huh?

Mom's first stop was at Jewel. Why you ask? She decided to go to a Jewel in a different town to see if it was just our Jewel that discontinued her toilet paper. No such luck. Apparently all the Jewel stores have gotten rid of it.

Jewel has a couple of aisles devoted to organic/green products. Mom's brand of toilet paper hadn't been stocked in this aisle because its manufacture also makes a virgin toilet paper. This brings up a whole other issue about corporate responsibility that Mom will be working on this year (one of the resolutions she made) so it's actually a good thing that her toilet paper has been discontinued.

Mom decided to check out the organic/green aisle at Jewel today to see if any there were any recycled toilet paper products. This Earth Friendly Products brand was front and center in the aisle. It's important when checking out toilet paper (as well as paper towels and napkins) to make sure they are chlorine free and free of dyes. You do not need this stuff in your personal paper products. Equally as important is the post consumer recycled paper content. Most toilet papers contain 80%, like the Earth Friendly brand, but some are less. Check the fine print carefully so you can make the right choice. Mom loves this brand (she uses their laundry detergent) so she knew she would love the toilet paper. The only down side was the price.

The Seventh Generation toilet paper was sitting right next to the Earth Friendly brand. Mom knows this brand and likes it a lot. They are way up there on the corporate responsibility ladder and their toilet paper was competitively priced. Note all the bullet points on the packaging. They have a great product and they want everyone to know why it's great. No bad stuff in this toilet paper plus its softness has been improved. Mom spent so much time taking pictures that she never even used her GoodGuide scanner to get the real scoop on the various toilet papers. Duh!

This brand was completely new to Mom. It was not located in the organic/green aisle, but in the aisle with the regular toilet paper. She was intrigued by it because of its message - "Your purchase supports individuals with disabilities". Mom just had to check this stuff out.

Spirit is made by the men and women of Malcolm Eaton Enterprises, a non-profit agency located in Illinois near the Wisconsin border, which trains and employs people with developmental disabilities. What a great idea! They started making toilet paper because of the opportunities it provided. By teaching important job and life skills, these men and women find satisifaction and pride in being in the work force. It's very interesting how they got into the toilet paper business but you can probably guess why - money. Instead of having to rely on government funds, they starting making toilet paper for state agencies, then a few years later rest areas, parks, prisons, etc. throughout Illinois started purchasing the paper. After having success with their commercial product, they decided to create a retail line and that's what Mom saw at Jewel.

Mom was disappointed in Spirit because it is made from virgin paper. I'm sure that's to save on the cost of the end product but it's really bad for the environment. Even paper that is Forest Stewardship Council certified would be better than virgin paper from unsustainable forests. Mom loves buying products that support non-profits, especially those that provide opportunities for those who wouldn't have them without the non-profits, but she just cannot support a non closed loop solution.

So what did Mom do? She went to Trader Joe's and bought their brand. It is made with 80% post consumer recycled paper and both her and Dad like it. Mom didn't go to Whole Foods, but she thinks they sell their own brand and Seventh Generation. She is going to do some online research into other brands, but she needs your help. What brand do your parents use? Please leave me a comment with the brand name and I will have Mom read them. Someone out there has to use a brand that is Mom approved, right? Mom has already broken a resolution by spending the day hunting for toilet paper and it's only the second day of the year. Sheesh!


Deborah said...

I never knew all of this and starting this Jan. 1 we went all organic, but you know, I never thought of t-paper... Thanks for the advise!
I use a lot of Seventh Generation products, they may be good. You will have to let us know!

Tweedles -- that's me said...

I do not know what mom uses, but sometimes for me- they use a handful of corsecun mint leaves, and it smells sooo good and its soft.

Salinger The Pug said...

Mom says she's going to mail you a big box of de-kerneled corn cobs like the pioneers used to use.

We've got a butt-load (pardon the expression!) down here in Indiana.

That should solve your TP dilemma. No need to thank us!


***Mom's note*** sorry...we're bad humans and buy the ginormous multipack from Sam's club.

dw said...

This is what they say about the Whole Foods toilet paper:

Whole Foods 365 100% Recycled Toilet Paper
2 ply/ 180 sheets per roll/ 4.3"x3.66" sheet/ 78.6 sq. ft.
$1.69 for a 4-pack at Whole Foods
Recycled content: 100 percent
Post-consumer recycled content: 40 percent minimum
Color: white (processed without chlorine)

Might be worth checking out.

dw said...

Stubby, I was just going through the coupons in today's paper and there's one for Marcal's Small Steps Toilet Paper. I checked the website and they are still listing them as being available at Jewel. It is hard to believe that somewhere in the area would not carry it if there's a coupon in our paper. I'm going to my Jewel tomorrow, so I'll look there and report back!

Stubby said...

Hi Deborah! It's so confusing trying to 'green' your life. From what you eat, to what you buy, there's so much to consider. It takes lots of work to figure out which products are right for you to use but it's worth it.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! Aren't you glad your moms use nice mint leaves on you? You are so lucky to have such great moms.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hey Salinger! Tell your mom I'll be sitting by the door waiting for the postman to deliver the corn cobs. Mom likes to think she is a pioneer so we'll see if she uses them.

Stubby xoxo

Pee-s: Sam's Club ginormous multipack? Hmmmm. There's never been a better time to start making changes!

Stubby said...

Hi dw! You are a researcher just like me - way to go! Where did you find the info about the Whole Foods tp? I was looking for it on their website and didn't see it. I did check the NRDC website which has environmental ratings for paper products and they claim the post-consumer content is 80-95%. Time for me to do more research.

Dad saw the coupon for Marcal today too. He mentioned it to Mom and she told him that she Jewel didn't carry it. I'm curious to see if your Jewel has it. Thanks for checking on it for me. I look forward to your report. Are you going to buy some for yourself? Which Jewel do you shop at?

Stubby xoxo

dw said...

Hi Stubby. I looked at Ecohuddle which said 40% postconsumer, but conservatree says 80%. I do think more research is needed, but at least it's better than some. I shop at the Jewel near Diversey and Ashland. I probably won't get any right now since I have enough tp right now! But since I'll be there anyway, I'll check it out!

Stubby said...

Hi dw! Ecohuddle sourced their info from NRDC but I couldn't find a source for the conservatree info. This is so confusing. I think an email to Whole Foods is in order.

Mom has told me many stories about her high school days hanging out near Diversey and Halsted. There use to be a hot dog stand there and she was there all the time. It's been gone for years but Mom has lots of great memories. To say that she was all over the north side in those days would be an understatement!

Stubby xoxo

dw said...

Hey Stubby, I checked at my Jewel today and they didn't have it. I sent an email to Marcal because their website said Jewel but it's not there, and they had a coupon in the paper, and it doesn't make sense to have a coupon but no products in the area.... *whew!* We'll see if I hear back. The north side is sure fun! The only hotdog stand that I know that is now gone is Demon Dogs on Fullerton by the El. They rebuilt the station and tore it down!

Stubby said...

Hi dw! I knew it! Jewel needs to update their website, huh? Thanks for emailing Marcal and we'll see what they have to say.

The hot dog stand was called Uncle Frank's and it was on the east side of Halsted, south of Diversey. Mom said there might be a shoe store there now but she's not sure. I love hot dogs and I'm sure if it was still there Mom would take me there.

Stubby xoxo

Anonymous said...

We use scott paper, it is pretty good and my fav of all the brands i have tried. I don't think it is recycled but i hate to say it, i have tried recyled toilet paper and i can't do it. Sorry :(

Stubby said...

Hi Lex! Recycled toilet paper has really come a long way. If you haven't tried it in a long time, please consider giving it a second chance. It really is soft and strong just like virgin paper.

Stubby xoxo