Sanitary Paper Product Standard Revision: Lend Us Your Expertise

Green Seal Notice
Green Seal Notice

Update: The Working Group application period has closed.

Green Seal is recruiting qualified applicants to join a working group that will assist with a revision to our GS-1 Sanitary Paper Products standard. We are looking for individuals that can provide technical and market expertise and have specialized knowledge of the paper industry, solid waste and recycling, and carbon benefits of alternative fibers (e.g., bamboo). Learn more here. 

Reducing the Impacts of an Everyday Product

Sanitary paper products such as toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissues are essential items used at home and work each day. These products are typically used only once before being thrown or flushed away. Pulp used to make these products can come from several sources, including wood (virgin fiber), recycled content, and alternative fibers such as bamboo. The fiber composition of these products has a significant impact on their overall environmental footprint. For example, products made from virgin fiber can generate three times as many CO2 emissions as products made from other types of pulp. 

Using recycled content in sanitary paper products results in lower greenhouse gas emissions because it eliminates the emissions associated with extracting and manufacturing virgin materials. Additionally, the collection and re-processing of recovered materials (paper products that have been diverted from waste streams) results in reduced carbon emissions across the product lifecycle. In particular, recovered materials have reduced carbon footprints because they preserve forests — which serve as carbon sinks — and divert materials from landfills where discarded products emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas. 

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 the potential for 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.

Green Seal’s Sanitary Paper Product Standard Revision

Green Seal’s reputation for credibility and market impact rests on an open and transparent process for developing our science-based criteria, following international best practices. Green Seal is actively working with stakeholders to develop draft criteria for public comment.

This revision will include the following:

  • Evaluating the standard’s recycled content requirements based on the landscape of the recycled fiber market
  • Exploring potential certification pathways for sustainably sourced alternative fibers, such as bamboo
  • Evaluating leadership criteria for both the household and the away-from-home markets

Call for Working Group Applicants  

Green Seal is actively recruiting participants to serve on our Working Group for this sanitary paper products revision. Working Group members are volunteers from leading companies, nonprofit organizations, and independent subject matter experts, including paper manufacturers, experts in solid waste and recycling, and green procurement professionals. The participation and input of these stakeholders is critical to achieving a strong outcome: a meaningful, feasible environmental leadership standard. Working Group members serve as technical and market advisors throughout the standard development process, and program implementation and evolution.

Working Group members must meet all member requirements and agree to the principles in Green Seal’s Policies and Procedures for Working Group Members.

Green Seal is especially interested in Working Group members who have expertise in the following areas:

  • Paper manufacturing
  • Solid waste and recycling
  • Carbon benefits of alternative fibers (e.g., bamboo)

Submission Instructions: Fill out the interest form.

Deadline for Application: Interested applicants should apply by September 29, 2023.

Timeline for Participation: October 2023 through March 2024. No travel will be required.

Green Seal

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