My reusable tissues certainly have a positive impact on the environment. But what is their true carbon footprint compared to disposable tissues?
The answer? I don't know, and it's actually exceedingly difficult to calculate!
LIFE CYCLE DATA
Calculating the footprint of our reusable tissues requires expertise in a myriad of subjects:
It involves calculating the impact of harvesting raw resources, yarn manufacturing, fabric manufacturing, the type of energy used in the manufacturing country, transportation, product production, storage, transportation during sale, and even your usage beyond production: washing and lifespan.
So, until we may one day conduct a comprehensive study that will probably cost us thousands of dollars, I can't provide you with carbon data because there are too many small things that are difficult to assess.
DATA AND CHARTS TO IMPRESS
Meanwhile, I could tell you whatever I want, manipulate the numbers my way, and it will always seem real and impressive (and perhaps not far from reality? I don't know).
One reusable tissue = One less flight
3 reusable tissues = Saving 3 trees
Reusable tissue: |||||
Disposable tissue: |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
Have you noticed how vague my data is and that they mean nothing when you really think about it? Are we talking about production, usage? Over what period?
So, I've decided not to lie to you and not to create charts with lots of data filled with dubious environmental comparisons. Yes, I can tell you that it's better for the environment for many reasons that I've observed and are evident, but I can never write precise numbers.
REAL CALCULABLE DATA
EXCEPT for these... And everyone can do this calculation:
If you use 24 tissues per week in your household (you blow your nose about 24 times), having a set of 24 reusable tissues means you won't consume, buy, and dispose of 1,248 disposable tissues per year.
For now, what I can assert without a doubt is that it's all about quantity: One reusable tissue will prevent you from consuming a significant number of disposable tissues because you'll reuse it.
Therein lies its environmental value: the tissue is produced only once, you reuse it for a very long time, and as a result, you stop using a single-use product.
So, in the end, no matter how a reusable tissue is manufactured – and its footprint for production and transportation, in the long term, it will be better than the footprint for the production and transportation of billions of disposable tissues that will be discarded seconds after use.