, the manufacturer of super-soft paper products that originate from virgin timber in old-growth forests — Kleenex, Cottonelle toilet paper, and Viva paper towels (the Rolls-Royces in each respective category) — has at long last come out with a recycled content brand, the Scott Naturals
line. Welcome to the party, K-C.
As Ariel Schwartz at Fast Company points out,
Kimberley-Clark’s reputation among environmentalists is rather sullied (check out websites like Kleercut.net
) making this foray into recycled content territory more or less an offering of an olive branch to detractors. Or as Schwartz eloquently puts it, the Scott Naturals line is K-C “wiping away its eco guilt.”
Kudos to K-C for stepping up to the plate, but is it too little too late?
In the too little arena, Scott Naturals — toilet paper, paper towels, flushable wipes, and napkins — didn’t fare well in Greepeace’s Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide
, a reference that has quickly become the green standard for rating household paper goods based on recycled content. TreeHugger
, on the other hand, points out that compared to the products of direct competitors like Charmin, Scott Naturals products boast high levels of recycled fiber content: 40 percent for the TP, 60 percent for the paper towels, and 80 percent for the napkins. The outer packaging is also made from 20 percent post-consumer recycled plastic and the cardboard cores are made from 100 percent recycled fibers.
In comparison, non-mainstream brands like 365 and Seventh Generation
have 80 percent recycled content in their toilet papers.
So is it too late? I don’t think it’s ever too late for a major paper goods manufacturer to give consumers a greener alternative even if it’s not the greenest. This, of course, doesn’t give K-C a get out of jail free card. But hey, out on bail and making significant improvements is fine by me.