Students organize group for environmentally-friendly toilet paper

Last Thursday, UVM students wearing t-shirts that read “UVM Forest Crimes Unit”, congregated in the Davis Center as part of Kleercut protest. Students carried signs that read “Know What You Flush Your Dumps = Stumps” This new independent activist group has temporarily dubbed themselves “UVM Forest Crimes Unit”. The UVM Forest Crimes Unit is working to help UVM join in the movement, along with schools like Harvard, Skidmore College and American University to cut ties with the corporation Kimberly-Clark. UVM students are starting with the Kleercut campaign. Kimberly-Clark, which makes Scott and Kleenex products, is distributed campus wide. Scott toilet paper has minimal amounts of post-consumer recycled content. Kleenex products have none. This means that both the tissues and tissue boxes are not coming from materials that are made from 100 percent virgin pulp. The paper comes from clear cuttting ancient old-growth boreal forests, which stretch across Alaska and Canada. Old growth forests help to support ecosystem biodiversity and are known for being among the most efficient in turning carbon into oxygen. Because most Kimberly-Clark products are simply flushed down the toilets, around 65,000 tons of custodial paper waste are generated at UVM every year. Kimberly-Clark doesn’t have the forest certifications to prove their “environmental practices”. Students held their first Kleercut meeting in early November.With increased knowledge and consciousness spreading around campus, the Kleercut meetings continue to have bigger turnouts. Basil Tsimoyianis, UVM junior and chief investigator into this issue said, “We’ve opened our doors to each other, ourhomes have become our offices.” The organization found more faculty support, and got over 800 students to sign a petition against Kimberly-Clark. The goal of this group is to help UVM find better alternatives and replacement industries to support. Right now, the best alternatives are Cascades products.Cascades brand products have a high post-consumer recycled content, with a Greenseal environmental certification to back it up. Cascades is sold by White River Paper Company, the same distributors for Kimberly-Clark products. Representatives from Cascades have expressed interest in coming to UVM to talk about making a closed-loop, financially sound introduction of their products on our campus.