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Sheryl Crow kicked up a storm last week when she urged

her blog readers to restrict themselves to a single square

of toilet paper per restroom visit, "...except, of course, on those

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pesky occasions where two to three could be required."

Now, Ms. Crow says, "It was a joke."

But she raised a good point, says Christy Ferguson, a forest campaigner working out of Greenpeace's Toronto office. Ms. Ferguson's team is preparing for the upcoming annual general meeting of Kimberly Clark - the world's largest manufacturer of tissue products - where Greenpeace plans to urge the company to wean itself off virgin tree fibre in favour of recycled.

"Reducing use is always a good idea, but we have to look at where these products are coming from," says Ms. Ferguson, whose office wall is hung with a poster that says: "It takes 90 years to grow a roll of toilet paper."


Average number of sheets per bathroom visit: 8.6

Average squares consumed per person over a year: 20,805

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Number of tonnes of facial tissue and toilet paper used by Canadians each year: 700,000

Number of kilograms per Canadian in a year: 22

Number of tonnes of virgin tree fibre used by Kimberly Clark annually, in millions: 3.1

Portion of that tree fibre cut down in Canada: almost one-quarter

Number of trees that would be saved if every Canadian home switched just one roll of toilet paper to a 100 per cent recycled brand: 47,000

Annual value of Canadian toilet paper sales, millions of dollars: 778. 9

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Sources:, Greenpeace Canada and Euromonitor

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More


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