Straight circular thinking!
Sustainability trends such as Circular Economy, product cycles and Second Life develop into guiding principles, which characterise the entire value chain throughout the industry. However, circular economy is not the silver bullet for the preservation of valuable, finite resources in every sector. There is hardly any industry in which thoughts do not revolve around Design Thinking, Customer Centricity or secondary use concepts on a daily basis: How do we design and produce our products so that the customer's eyes, hearts and minds are won, while at the same time conserving resources? In every phase of the production and use of consumer goods, we continue to perfect ways to design the continuance of our products following their useful life. In the flood of buzzwords these days, "Just recycling" sounds rather stale. More resource resuscitation must be possible! Reuse rather than recycle. Reduce - Reuse - Recycle, the new triad, with which one wants to ensure that reusing and recycling have precedence over the extraction of new raw materials.
However, even with circular economy you must be prepared to think outside the box. This is all the more true if you try to imagine a second-life or second-use concept of products like toilet paper (or rather not?). Repair-Cafè for hygiene paper? Shareconomy for cleaning and towel rolls? Recommerce for handkerchiefs and facial tissues?
100% recycling quality counts - not just on paper
No question: Even in the production of toilet paper, folding towels, kitchen rolls or handkerchiefs, energy efficiency and the conservation of other resources as well as environmental protection must take centre stage. In order to achieve this, one must first bear in mind the use phases of these "fibres": Once used, they are disposed of via sewage or household waste. This is not reprehensible, but hygienic. It is therefore all the more important that manufacturers and consumers value 100% recycling quality in hygiene paper, as well as eco-labels such as the European Environment Flower or the Blue Angel.
Because, only the bearers of such "badges" meet the strict criteria, regarding the highest possible use of waste paper, the lowest possible use of chemicals as well as low water and energy consumption. Thus, on the way to the restroom, a smaller ecological footprint is left behind, as paper can be reused up to 7 times thanks to recycling.
According to WWF and Greenpeace, up to 60 % less energy and up to 70 % less water are consumed in the production of recycled paper and less CO2 emissions are generated than when using fresh fibres.
Besides - and thus, in keeping with the concept of circular economy, we are back at the beginning - the Design Thinking in regard to hygiene paper made from 100% recycled material has been completely rethought, since it is no longer inferior to fresh fibre paper, in terms of look and feel.
Clean green quality instead of greenwashing
Sustainability must have priority - also and in particular with hygiene paper. All the more important is that certifications such as FSC®, EU Ecolabel and the Blue Angel are not used merely for greenwashing and window dressing. This would be, pardon the pun, crap for the environment, customers and the "credibility" of the manufacturers. Rather, companies must take their responsibilities seriously and carry it out with precision at every stage of the value chain and for each fibre of the product. Only a consequent environmentally friendly production and attitude can make the hype of sustainability a real guiding principle - even regarding hygiene paper.