Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Product Review - Seventh Generation Paper Towels and Toilet Paper

Paper Towels:
Basic Cleaning Power: ** (out of 5)

Deep Cleaning Power: *

Aesthetics: **

Toilet Paper:
Does the job?: Yes

Aesthetics: ***

Recyclable Packaging?: Yes, Code 4 (though it states that "Recycling Programs for this Packaging May Not Exist". Yikes!

I found them at: Kroger

Other Stuff: Packaging states they are 100% recycled paper, 80% post-consumer, whitened without chemicals containing chlorine. Whatever that means.

See below for the scoop:

Since moving to Houston 5 years ago from the hippie-dippy, green-as-all-get-out Northwest, I've found that recycled paper products can be hard to find. Usually they're not stocked with the regular paper towels and t.p., but in their own special "natural" area. And where safer cleaners are popping up all over, paper products seem to be harder to find.

I've been trying to use fewer paper towels, and it's going pretty well (though a Morningstar veggie sausage pattie just doesn't microwave as well on a plate as it does on a paper towel). Some jobs, however, demand a paper towel.

That's why I was so stoked to discover where my neighborhood grocery was hiding the recycled paper products (bottom shelf, across from the organic milk). And that's why I was so disappointed to find that the paper towels to be a complete bust.

First of all, they are scratchy. I could use a piece of printer paper to wipe up messes, and it would be more pliable than the Seventh Generation paper towels. Second, they are bright white -- and I'm a little skeptical about what's behind the "whitened without chemicals containing chlorine" line. What does that mean? I checked the website where they claimed to list all of the ingredients but found no more info than I did on the package.

Third, and worst of all, they are not absorbent. 1980's commercial-style, I did an absorbency test by pouring water on the counter and trying out the paper towels -- because I love all five of my readers so! I used two pieces of paper towel, but I had to go back for more. If you have to use four pieces rather than one, how does that impact the ol' environment?

The failed absorbency test

I was happier with the toilet paper. Yes, it gets the job done; and no, it is not as scratchy as printer paper. Of course, I've worked at summer camps and elementary schools -- homes of the world's roughest t.p. -- so I admit that I'm not a fan of "quilted softness" on my toilet paper. Probably something I would buy again. The paper towels? A definite no.

Fun fact: Some folks are using cloth t.p. these days. That is dedication to Mother Earth!


Shelley said...

How about a review of Mrs. Meyers cleaning products? I dont know how organical or green they are, but they sure do smell good. They are at whole foods/central market. I recommend geranium. I soak it up with a generic brawny over 7th gen. anyday.

Every day there is another green conundrum.

Darci said...

Cloth toilet paper? Wow.

On a funny, but unrelated note: The other day my classroom was out of kleenex, so one of my students used a 3x5 note card. Ouch!

Catfish said...

Actually, one of my first reviews was of the dish soap (check the product review archive or the January). I love the way it smells. I'm thinking of revising it, though, because I was a bit harsh on it. I like it more now.