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Thoughtful Consumption™ – Worth Thinking About?

About 18 months ago, I had the privilege of spending time listening to a presentation by a USA colleague of mine, who has been in the ‘away from home’ washroom (AFH) paper business for almost 30 years.

In this blog (my first one on our new ESG site), I would like to share with you a concept that was born during his presentation and that has now become one of the most important philosophies in our world today.

I have always been proud of the fact that our organisation has only ever sourced and supplied 100% recycled paper products across the Asia Pacific region, but it is always been a source of frustration to me that that it was quite difficult to explain the benefits of buying recycled products to our customers.

If you serious about selling washroom paper products in the market today, your business is probably either focussed on virgin products that have hopefully (but I am not going to use this forum today to explain what I think should be done with companies that use non-sustainable fibre in their production process) been sourced from sustainable resources – or like us, you choose to supply only 100% recycled products.

There is certainly a valid case for using sustainable resources in paper production and this is put forward very eloquently by companies such as SCA and Kimberly-Clark , which between them control a very large share of the AFH Washroom market in our region.( A quick look on either of these company’s websites will tell you more about their thoughts on this subject).

At ESG we are passionate about ONLY being in the recycled paper business — even if it has been a constant challenge of ours (for the past 20 years or so) to educate the market about the benefits of using 100% recycled washroom paper and explain why toilet paper should not have to be ‘soft, white and fluffy’ — but that is story for another day.

Thanks to my colleague from the USA, who I previously mentioned, we have now been able to sum up our recycled philosophy in two simple words …. Thoughtful Consumption™

Thoughtful Consumption™ is really about taking a common sense approach to washroom paper products and thinking through the product’s lifecycle. Whilst the sustainable resource argument is supported by vast amounts of scientific research, which has been gathered and put together by people much smarter than me, I ask the question: Does it really make sense to cut down trees to make toilet paper or hand towels?

If you think about it, toilet paper cannot be recycled, so the act of using it effectively ends the lifecycle of the product. Therefore, the journey of the virgin product is literally straight from the raw material (sustainable forests in the majority of cases) to production —to a retail shelf or an AFH washroom — and then straight down the drain — never to be seen again!

Thoughtful Consumption™ is about stretching out the lifecycle of the fibre and ensuring it is recycled at least once (preferably 3-4 times), before we use it in a washroom and consign it to the drain

Paper has so many wonderful practical uses in our world today that surely it makes more sense to take our trees and make it into children’s book and then (using all the fantastic recycling resources and companies available to us today) take that book (when it is old and past its use) and make it into a cereal packet — and take that packet and turn it into office copy paper — and then finally take that paper and produce 100% recycled washroom paper!

The lights went on for me when Thoughtful Consumption™ was explained to me back in 2010 (my thanks to Gary!) and I hope that ESG’s adopted philosophy also resonates with you reading this blog.

Practising Thoughtful Consumption™ can only have a positive effect on our world and I encourage you to join us at ESG and ONLY purchase 100% recycled washroom paper products for home or work.

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