Tork explores the impact of composting hand towels

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Tork composting represented by tomatoes growing on vine.

New Environmental Product Declarations from Tork reveal the environmental impact of composting hand towels.

Through lifecycle analysis, Tork has found that composting hand towel with commercial composters instead of disposing them in landfill reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent.

This lifecycle analysis was completed as part of new Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) on a number of Tork products. Each EPD outlines Global Warming Potential (GWP); also known as a carbon footprint, GWP is the potential of emitted greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, to increase absorption of heat reaching Earth’s atmosphere, intensifying the natural greenhouse effect.

In 2016, Tork were the first tissue company to produce EPDs. A published EPD is an independently verified and registered document that communicates transparent and comparable information about the environmental impact of a product through its entire life cycle.

Tork are continually adding more products to the EPDs and they now also include some interesting statistics about composting hand towels. Each EPD covers the full life cycle of the product ‘from cradle to grave’. The most popular Tork Conventional, Jumbo and Mini Jumbo toilet paper products, Multifold and Ultraslim hand towels, Roll and Kitchen towel products, as well as Xpressnap dispenser napkins have been analysed.

“We were attracted to EPDs for Tork because of their transparency, credibility and ability to speak to the product’s entire life cycle. We have both quantified our environmental impacts and disclosed this information publicly for a range of products,” says Rochelle Lake, head of marketing, B2B.

“EPDs also allow us to identify ‘hot spots’ within our value chain – areas where improvements can be made to reduce impact, such as through the composting of hand towel.”

The EPDs also show that Tork toilet paper and hand towel that is manufactured in Kawerau, New Zealand has been produced with 65 to 76 percent renewable energy. This achievement is a result of the direct use of geothermal steam in the paper making process and also of New Zealand’s high proportion of renewable energy within the grid.

The recent $23 million upgrade of the Kawerau facility is now undergoing further assessment and additional EPDs will be available in 2020. With improved efficiencies and less packaging waste they are sure to outline a further reduction in climate impact.

To read all of Tork’s Environmental Product Declarations, click here.

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