We can’t keep chopping down the boreal forest for Costco toilet paper

We can’t keep cutting down one of the planet’s most important forests to make toilet paper.


Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service via Flickr | Public Domain
The boreal forest of North America is home to wildlife from Canadian lynx and snowshoe hare to wood bison and many of North America’s migratory birds.

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The boreal forest is disappearing before our eyes, in part because Costco uses its trees to make toilet paper.

And it’s disappearing fast: In the time it takes you to brush your teeth tonight, Canada’s boreal forest will lose three football fields of trees.

The 1.5 billion acres of pristine forested lands should stay firmly rooted — we won’t stand by and let Costco flush this majestic forest away all for fluffy toilet paper. 

The boreal forest is in trouble

The decline in forests across our planet is sharp: We’ve lost a third of our world’s forests.

But a culprit behind the boreal’s deforestation is soft: Costco is lining its shelves with extra fluffy toilet paper made from the boreal — one of our last, great North American forests.

These forested lands host Canadian lynx, snowshoe hare and even wood bison. And in the treetops above, nearly half of all North American birds rely on the forest during migration.

When the boreal is logged, wildlife lose the only homes they know and we lose one of our best climate defenders. The boreal’s trees are a carbon sink, soaking up enough carbon each year to offset the global warming pollution of 24 million cars.

Toilet paper is hurting the boreal — but Costco can help

Shelves lined with Kirkland Signature toilet paper can’t compare with the beauty and majesty of forested lands in the world’s “northern lungs.”

But right now, Costco is selling a billion rolls of toilet paper each year. Stacked on top of each other, those rolls would reach heights of 300 million feet — 240,000 Empire State Buildings. Eventually, all those rolls are flushed away.

And what’s left? A barren boreal forest.

The good news is there are perfectly suitable alternatives, such as recycled paper, bamboo or even wheat straw that other companies have already adopted.

Costco can and should stop destroying the boreal, but first, it needs to hear from you.

Urge Costco to make Kirkland Signature tissue products from at least 50% recycled or forest-free materials and refuse to sell other brands of tissue products until they make the same change.


Ellen Montgomery

Director, Public Lands Campaign, Environment America

Ellen runs campaigns to protect America's beautiful places, from local beachfronts to remote mountain peaks. Prior to her current role, Ellen worked as the organizing director for Environment America’s Climate Defenders campaign. Ellen lives in Denver, where she likes to hike in Colorado's mountains.

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