Home Uncategorized ‘Fashionable’ toilet rolls making ‘dubious’ claims about being made from bamboo, Which? finds | Climate News

‘Fashionable’ toilet rolls making ‘dubious’ claims about being made from bamboo, Which? finds | Climate News

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‘Fashionable’ toilet rolls making ‘dubious’ claims about being made from bamboo, Which? finds | Climate News

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Some “fashionable” toilet roll brands claiming to be made from sustainable bamboo actually contain very little and are instead using virgin wood, a new investigation suggests.

Which?, a website that researches consumer choices, tested one sample from each of five popular brands implying they are made from bamboo.

Bamboo is marketed as greener than regular paper made from virgin trees on the basis the grass grows so quickly and the process releases fewer greenhouse gases, which drive climate change.

Which? found samples from Bumboo, Naked Sprout and Bazoo contained just 2.7%, 4% and 26.1% bamboo-like grass fibres, respectively.

Bazoo says it makes “tree-free, 100% bamboo toilet paper” and Bumboo cites its “FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and tested 100% bamboo from well-managed forests”.

Naked Sprout does not claim the product is made only from bamboo, but also does not specify that its bamboo range contains other materials.

Which? said supply chains are “complicated” but that the “onus is on brands” to audit them.

Emily Seymour, Which? sustainability editor, said: “If you’re making green claims about particular products, and you’re expecting customers to believe those claims, and to buy things on the basis of them, then it’s really on you as a company to make sure that your checks and balances are correct.”

She praised the “great” response from Bumboo, which, after being alerted to the issue by Which? in January, stepped up its testing.

Rob Ingram, CEO of Bumboo, told Sky News he was “devastated” to learn of Which?’s findings, and said the issue came from a paper mill in China that had sold it the wrong product.

“We immediately figured out what the problem was and fixed it because we only annual tested before… now we’re going to do it on every single batch, in order to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

According to consultancy firm McKinsey, COVID-19 lockdowns helped drive a shift to purchases of products from e-retailers, such as some of those tested by Which?.

It said in a 2021 report consumers are “increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of the products they buy”, including of tissue products.

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Why sewage is flooding streets and gardens

Which? had found that the tested toilet rolls comprised mostly less eco-friendly fast-growing virgin hardwoods – mostly eucalyptus with some acacia in Bazoo and Bumboo.

Acacia has been associated with damaging deforestation in places such as Indonesia, Which? said.

It tested two other brands, Who Gives a Crap (WGAC) and The Cheeky Panda, and found they contained 100% bamboo, as claimed.

Read more: ‘Shocking’ incidents of sewage spewing into gardens – with disease outbreaks ‘very possible’

‘Disappointed’ response

The testing was carried out by an independent lab using an industry standard test known as TAPPI T 401.

The process breaks down a sample of paper to quantify and identify its components.

Naked Sprout said it is “incredibly disappointed by a recent Which? report that suggests our bamboo toilet paper contains a low percentage of bamboo”.

A spokesperson said: “Our entire supply chain (4 pulp suppliers and 1 manufacturer) is FSC certified… the most credible supply chain organisation worldwide. The FSC has stated that there have been no issues identified with any of our pulp suppliers. The FSC is undertaking further investigation to further verify this.

“TAPPI (Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry) admit that the current test has limitations and say that ‘considerable variation in the precision is to be expected’.”

They added: “Our products remain the most sustainable option on the market. Both our bamboo and recycled toilet papers have lower carbon footprints than any other eco or mainstream option. This is because the factory we use is powered by on-site renewable energy, our shipping and postage is as green as possible, and our packaging is plastic free and fully recyclable.”

They are about to start showing customers supply chain data, allowing them to see “exactly where our bamboo is grown, exactly how it comes to our factory, and exactly what goes into our products to produce their toilet paper”.

TAPPI said: “Of course, every testing method has limitations, and TAPPI/ANSI T 401 clearly outlines its limitations within the TM itself.

“We see no contradictions in the way Which? applied T 401, and it seems disingenuous to suggest that a TM applied successfully to other brands tested for this article would be inadequate for Naked Sprout.”

A spokesperson for Bazoo said: “Bazoo and our entire supply chain is vigorously audited by the Forest Stewardship Council, the leading supply chain certifier in our market, so we were incredibly disappointed to know that any of our rolls had been contaminated at source. We are in extensive communications with FSC to understand clearly where this error occurred.

“We truly are committed to delivering on our promise of 100% bamboo rolls and have taken every step in our power to understand the root of the problem and ensure we’re fully protected from any future contamination.

“This means stricter quality control measures, more frequent testing, and doing right by our customers that have received contaminated products.”

They said any customers affected by the contaminated batch have been contacted, adding: “As a UK start-up trying to make a difference we knew there would be bumps along the way.”

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