top of page

Zero Waste I - Paper

Bitte keine Werbung.jpg

Advertised on the shelf as fluffy, super soft, downy, extra tear-resistant, 4-ply and pristine white, we buy freshly cut tropical trees to flush them down the toilet with drinking water after a few seconds of use - that doesn't have to be the case.

We Germans use 241kg of paper per capita per year (as of 2018) - no other member of the G20 states uses so much paper, cardboard and cardboard. Although we are consuming a little less than we did 10 years ago, this consumption may increase even further in the coming years due to increasing online shipping and the avoidance of plastic as packaging material.

Most of it comes from fresh wood - and not from our forests. Germany has to import 80% of its pulp. The largest part comes from South America (Brazil), followed by Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. It is therefore one of the most important importing nations and is therefore decisively responsible for the effects in the countries of origin.

Most of the pulp for our toilet paper comes from jungle regions in South America. After they have been cleared, eucalyptus plantations follow for particularly fluffy fibers - which are sold as "tropical wood-free" (!). With fatal consequences for the people living there, who are forcibly expelled from their habitat and whose livelihood is taken away from the jungle. Countless animals and plants also lose their habitat with them. This even has consequences for us: numerous starting materials for medicines come from jungle plants, for example. But in addition to these points, the preservation of the rainforest is also of central importance for climate protection - the trees represent a large CO2 sink, and as a result the soil emits CO2 and methane gas, which is 20 times more harmful to the climate.

For solid fibers for paper production, northern and eastern European primeval forest, the boreal forest, is cleared - also there followed by monocultures, which can only compensate a part of the previously stored CO2. These are harvested in Scandinavia by clear-cutting, which has devastating consequences for animals, plants, fungi (which live in symbiosis with the trees) and soil organisms - lifeless wasteland is left behind. 90% of the Scandinavian primeval forests have already disappeared in this way, in favor of commercial forests using pesticides that follow the laws of the forest industry. However, such cultures bind only a third of the CO2 compared to the primeval forests.


The production of this supposedly "pure" natural substance is also not without problems. The wood is broken down and the cellulose is dissolved and bleached with a great deal of energy and chemicals. If not stated otherwise on the packaging, it is treated with halogen-organic bleaching agents - usually in the same country, since the environmental regulations there are not as strict.


Unlike other papers, which can be recycled up to seven times, toilet paper is lost after a single use.


Recycled paper on the other hand

  • does not consume a single tree

  • saves half the resources

  • saves half the energy

  • saves 2/3 of the water consumption*


This also applies to kitchen rolls, handkerchiefs and the large consumption of office paper.

Whether for paper, for animal feed, for palm oil, for heating, for building and for furniture, our hunger for wood is larger than trees can grow on this globe.

A forest is not a supplier of raw materials, but a functioning community.

We are irrevocably sacrificing the last primeval forests worldwide with all their soil life and fellow inhabitants. It will take decades and centuries to sequester a similar amount of carbon - we don't have that time anymore.

Would you like to become active yourself right away?

Read the following tips on how you can protect countless trees with very simple measures. Take the"Zero Waste" Challengeshare and exchange ideas with other challenge participants in your group. Or exchange ideas without a challenge in the forum"Zero Waste"with people from the area. Visit during LentTraveling exhibition "Wood makes things! Wood, tree, forest and you?"in the knight's area, take thequizParticipate and with a bit of luck win an eco-fair prize from Robin Wood - main prize is aVoucher for 100€from the very sustainable mail order company memolife.


Very simple tips to get started right away


1. Only buy toilet paper, kitchen rolls, ... made from recycled paper with the "Blue Angel". Only this seal guarantees: 100% waste paper and pollution control*. By the way: all toilet paper available in Hall was rated “very good” or “good” by Ökotest. Gone are the days of grey, rough and single-ply toilet paper that we know from public institutions. Today it is multi-layered, light, soft but tear-resistant and embossed or printed in a visually appealing way.

By the way: In Japan, electric shower toilets, which represent a modern combination of toilet and bidet, have long been widespread. We also have such toilets and toilet seats available, with which a lot of toilet paper can be saved. A much cheaper alternative is the butt shower. One way to completely avoid toilet paper is to use an anal douche.


2. Buy notebooks, printer paper etc. made from recycled paper. "Environmental paper" used to be gray, rough, pencil was hardly legible and it clogged the printer. Today it is suitable for all areas of application and available in many degrees of whiteness. Tip: You can get an overview, for example, on the website of the companySteinbeis(manufacturer) ormemo(dealers) procure.


All in all, the range of recycling products in Hall has unfortunately been low so far - but we can easily change that! Just ask if you can't find what you're looking for - the dealers sell what they know customers want to buy!


  • REWE in Salinenstraße: there is already a very nice selection of recycled goods here: Whether toilet paper (several to choose from, also share), office paper from Steinbeis and memo (degree of whiteness 100), exercise books and pads, kitchen rolls or handkerchiefs, everything with that "blue angel"

  • Kaufland may not have a selection, but there is something of everything

  • Müller also carries recycled goods


3. Get a "No Ads" mailbox sticker - like the beautiful one in the picture above fromMrs Ottilie. Often it doesn't work immediately, or not alone - possibly attach several to different pages or add a sticker "No free newspapers" - eventually all delivery people will understand ;). What does a sticker like that do? It prevents tons of paper waste (impressive test: collect all advertising brochures for two weeks ;) ). In addition, the advertising leaflets serve to arouse needs, so that we, for example, buy products that we actually don't need or that quickly break down due to cheap production, while high-quality goods from specialist shops are initially more expensive, but ultimately cheaper would have been.


4. Avoid paper packaging around products. You can find many regional zero-waste tips in the topic "Zero Waste III - Plastic".


5. Replace egkitchen rollormake-up removal pads with washable towels. You can even buy items for menstrual hygiene with amenstrual cupsubstitute.


6. Consider whether an e-mail needs to be printed out! Very often this is unnecessary.


Are you interested in more?

www.erlebnis-regenwald.deoffers a lot of information about rainforest, climate, paper and more


On tooRobinwood.deand he homepage ofGreenpeaceyou will find lots of background information.


ThatFederal Environment Agencyhas created an informative brochure on this.


Exhibition in the knight's area: Like last year, it will be from the beginning of Lent on February 17th. until 14.3. give a small exhibition on the subject of forest and paper in the anteroom of the knight's area. There is one by Robin Woodquizwith eco-fair prizes - the main prize is a €100 purchase voucher frommemolife.

bottom of page