Good Wood guide: Tissue production in Europe

What is the problem with chemicals used in the tissue production process?

Toxic emissions - dioxins and other organochlorines - are produced as by-products of chlorine bleaching, a process that is used by the pulp and paper industry to whiten papers. They are released in waste-water from pulp and paper mills using chlorine chemistry. These harmful chemicals spread everywhere - in our water supply, food chain and bodies.

Exposure to dioxins, a toxic substance, has been shown to cause cancer. Biologists believe organochlorines may be responsible for mutations, sterility, immune system failures and local extinctions in many wildlife populations.

There are environmentally friendly choices for companies bleaching without chlorine:

TCF (Total Chlorine Free) - only a few companies in the tissue sector are using this method to bleach virgin products. This procedure uses oxygen compounds instead of toxics such as chlorine, chlorine containing compounds, or its agents for bleaching, and hence does not have the negative side-effects.

The equivalent method for recycled content is called PCF (Processed Chlorine Free).

Beware: Many tissue manufacturers claim to use only pulp that is ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free). While less harmful than bleaching with elemental chlorine, ECF papers are bleached with chlorine dioxide, a technology that does not completely eliminate organochlorines. Also, bleaching pulp with chlorine dioxide uses 2 times more water than chlorine-free processes.
 

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