Smaller Footprints
Just one girl's dream of changing the world -

one smaller footprint at a time.

Proud Paper Products

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been drawn to trees. (Although, as my parents will tell you with exasperated stories, not as much as I was drawn to rocks as a baby. Specifically, how much I loved putting rocks in my mouth and scaring my parents half to death every time they realized my chipmunk cheeks were created by pebbles I had crammed there for safe keeping.) Thankfully, I have no desire to munch on trees, but I have always loved everything else about them. Fall has always been my favorite time of the year, mostly because I can't get enough of the reds and browns and yellows, especially after rain has drenched everything, and the harsh brown of the tree bark makes the leaves stand out like flames against a dark night. Picking up leaves for admiring has always been an irresistible part of strolls along tree lined paths, so much so that I once had a bowl of gingko leaves I had collected in my childhood room. And of course, there are certain trees I hold dear to my heart - the redwoods I quietly stood beneath in reverence in California, the oak tree that cradles the swings at my grandparents farm I have been flying on for more than two decades, and the many, many trees of my childhood Girl Scout camp that watched me grow from a timid young camper to a loud leader beneath their boughs.

So naturally, a good place for me to start on my smaller footprints journey is saving trees. Of course I have been recycling everything from torn out notebook page frills to cardboard boxes for years, and try not to print more things than I need to. I went to paperless bills ages ago more out of annoyance than environmental reasons, and of course now that I am on the less-trash-path, I don't need as many products, meaning less packaging and less dead trees. But still, there are even more ways I can make peace with my hippie heart and be a better (more literally in this case) tree hugger.

The first step involves all those paper products that used to be, well, not paper. Tissues used to be handkerchiefs, paper towels and napkins used to be cloth towels and napkins, and toilet paper used to be, uh, well I don't know what toilet paper used to be, but I doubt the first people to use it looked at a tree and said, "yep, let's use that!" So the world used to re-use more things - lots more things than we do today. And, I hear ya - it's a different world out there. Things have changed, and trust me, I don't want to use a corn cob to finish my business any more than you do (turns out that's what pioneers used to use - thanks google). But it does seem silly that after all of our technological advancements, almost all of our basic paper products come from virgin trees.

Thankfully, there's a way around this that does not involve handing out handkerchiefs to every guest that enters my home and demanding that they save the trees (although, handkerchiefs will be making an appearance later on for my own personal use, so stick around!). The way around being a demanding hostess is recycled, post-consumer paper products. There are a lot of companies that have these products and all of them that I found recycle all of their left over materials in the production process, but they have varying degrees of post-consumer content. (You can see the list here.)

I chose to focus on Seventh Generation, because their products are made from 80% post-consumer material, are easy to find, and the plastic packing they use is recyclable packaging (most plastic packaging is not recyclable). Unfortunately, they are a bit more expensive than virgin tree products, but since one of my future posts will be documenting my decreased use of paper products, I won't be buying as many anyways and can justify the increased costs for the convenience and comfort of my guests. And for my tush, because I don't think I will ever be ready to give up toilet paper, and happily, the Seventh Generation toilet paper is still soft and wonderful, especially if I were to compare it to a corncob.

To be continued --- Stay tuned for the rest of this post where I cut down my paper load by 41 pounds per year!

This Posts Products


Seventh Generation Paper Towels: HyVee, $2.99 for one roll

Seventh Generation Toilet Paper: HyVee, $3.99 for four pack

Green Forest Tissues: Greatest Grains, $2.89 for a box

Fun Facts!

-80,000 to 160,000 trees are cut down per day worldwide.

-If every household in the U.S. replaced one roll of virgin fiber paper towels for 100% recycled ones, we could save 544,000 trees!

-On average, a single American uses seven trees a year.

-150 acres of rainforest is lost every MINUTE of every day.