GS-
1

Sanitary Paper Products

Upcoming Revision: The market for recycled fiber has undergone dramatic changes in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and impacts of the China Sword policy.  Due to these changes, Green Seal is evaluating possible revisions to the sustainability criteria in its GS-1 Standard for Sanitary Paper Products, including the highly stringent recycled fiber requirements, to ensure they align with market needs as well as new sustainability opportunities for the product category. Through this revision, Green Seal will also explore potential certification pathways for sustainably sourced alternative fibers (e.g., bamboo) and will assess whether different leadership criteria are needed for the household market versus the away-from-home market. To find out more about this project or receive project updates, visit our Standard Projects page.

Update: March 25, 2020 – Due to the extreme impacts to the fiber supply chain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Green Seal will work with participating organizations to temporarily make reasonable accommodations to fiber sourcing compliance. This measure will aid in the continued market flow of hygienic paper products that have consistently met the highest sustainability standard in the market. 

The Green Seal Standard for Sanitary Paper Products, GS-1, establishes environmental, health, and social requirements for sanitary paper products for institutional and retail markets, including:

  • bathroom tissue
  • facial tissue
  • paper towels
  • napkins
  • and placemats.

The GS-1 Standard addresses the key lifecycle hot spots including: product performance, fiber sources, restrictions on hazardous chemicals, and limits on water and energy use in manufacturing.

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Resources

standard revisions

Latest version: Edition 6.4, Issued on August 25, 2021

Recent Changes: GS-1 underwent corrections and/or clarifications and was re-published on July 26, 2023. For details on the non-substantive changes made to this standard, please see the Standard Documents Library

Recent Revision: Green Seal updated the requirements for chlorine use during the re-pulping phase of the papermaking process. Visit Edition 6.4 in our Library to see a complete record of the standard criteria development process.

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criteria that help preserve the climate
Recycled Content Product must be 100% recovered material, agricultural residue or combination of both
Post-Consumer Material Minimum requirements for post-consumer material, varies by product category
Fresh Water Use Limits on total water used during the papermaking process: no more than 19,250 gallons / ton of final product
Total Energy Use Limits on total energy used during the papermaking process: no more than 17.0 millions BTUs / ton of final product
Restrictions to prevent adverse health effects
Ozone Depleting Compounds Prohibited in papermaking process
Carcinogens Prohibited above 100ppm
Mutagens Prohibited above 100ppm
Reproductive Toxins Prohibited above 100ppm
Chlorophenolic Biocides Prohibited in papermaking process
Colorants Prohibited as a functional ingredient in papermaking
Fragrances Prohibited above 100ppm
Phthalates Must not be intentionally added to packaging
Bisphenol A Must not be intentionally added to packaging
Chlorinated Materials Must not be intentionally added to packaging
Hexavalent Chromium Prohibited above 100ppm and must not be intentionally added to packaging
Lead Prohibited above 100ppm and must not be intentionally added to packaging
Selenium Prohibited above 100ppm
Mercury Must not be intentionally added to packaging
Cadmium Must not be intentionally added to packaging
Restrictions to prevent adverse environmental effects
Aquatic Biodegradability Each functional ingredient in papermaking process greater than 100 ppm must readily biodegrade
Optical Brighteners Prohibited above 100ppm
Chlorine Free Processing Chlorine is not added for bleaching, screening, de-inking or washing
restrictions to prevent packaging waste
Primary & Secondary Packaging – Paper Must be recyclable, and made from 100% recovered material
Primary & Secondary Packaging – Containerboard Must be recyclable, and made from 30% recovered material
Primary & Secondary Packaging – Plastic Must be recycle, source-reduced, contain 25% recovered material, or have an effective take-back program
Recycling Labeling Plastic packages must be marked with the appropriate Resin Identification Code. All packages must contain a label statement encouraging recycling of primary and secondary packaging