Napkins and Tissues Made From Sugar Cane, Not Trees

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No trees were harmed in the making of this toilet paper.

Emerald Brand Tree-Free bath tissue

Emerald Brand tissue and toilet paper is made from bagasse, the leftover residue from sugar cane juicing. Image courtesy of Emerald Brand.

That’s the promise Emerald Brand makes with its line of tree-free disposable products. In 2011, when we first reported on the 21-year-old company, the supplier of eco-friendly disposables and cleaning supplies introduced 70 percent tree-free bath tissue, facial tissue, and napkins, as well as 100 percent tree-free disposable plates.

From Recycled to Tree-Free

Instead of using virgin wood fiber or even recycled paper, Emerald Brand products use bagasse — the leftover residue from sugar cane juicing. The use of bagasse in products reclaims an agricultural waste material and prevents the polluting gases created when it is burned as waste. It also takes less energy and fewer chemicals to produce bagasse products than it does to manufacture tree-based paper products.

Emerald Brand has expanded its product line beyond tissue paper, napkins, and plates. It also sells food packaging, cups, eco-friendly cleaners, and plant-based biodegradable plastic cutlery and cups.

In addition to their environmental benefits, Emerald Brand products are less expensive than traditional paper-based tissues and napkins, making them affordable for the company’s business customers. Emerald Brand has also focused recently on recycling farming refuse into products.

“Our goal is to make going green an easy choice for businesses,” said R.J. Bianculli, director of the Paradigm Group, which owns Emerald Brand. “The Emerald Brand allows companies to make the responsible decision without sacrificing room in their budget. It’s a win-win for businesses and the environment.”

Emerald has a “Tree-Free” mission to produce products from sustainable, alternative materials:

In 2017, we began working with American farmers to transform their traditionally wasted materials into high quality, eco-friendly everyday disposables. We value our American farmers and creating jobs which is why we are currently expanding our Tree-Free production in the USA. Emerald’s Farm to Tissue solution is the perfect way to give back to American farmers, combat deforestation, and provide healthy products at affordable prices.”

Green Home Supplies Movement

Emerald Brands is part of a growing movement in business to provide recycled and toxics-free home products. Earth911 recently interviewed Terry Lehmann, founder and CEO of True Green Enterprises, which makes a wide range of tree-free compostable recycled paper products, as well as a new bamboo straw to tackle the massive plastic straw problem.

Another sustainable products company, Seventh Generation, which makes environmentally friendly household cleaning products as well as paper products and trash bags, has committed to list all ingredients in its products to help consumers choose toxic-free home goods. The company recently helped pass California SB-258, the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act, which requires ingredient disclosures on all cleaning product packaging by 2020.

With so much momentum, consumer’s choices and the information available to them when shopping is becoming more complex. But the choice to avoid environmental or personal harm from wasteful production and toxins is easy.

Feature image courtesy of wherewerewe91

Editor’s note: Originally published on March 1, 2011, this article was updated and extended in September 2018 by Taylor Ratcliffe.

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