The Truth about Trash for Earth Day Every Day: There is No Away in Throw Away

Blog by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Company
Mar 9, 2011 11:15 AM ET

Taiga Company blog by Julie Urlaub, Founder and Managing Partner at Taiga Compa…

When plastic manufacturing took off in the early 20th century, plastic was heralded as a miraculous material—lightweight, flexible, and sturdy. Eventually, though, plastic’s down sides started to emerge. Now mainstream Americans are aware of the environmental and health issues associated with plastics.  Granted, while eco actions of recycling plastic bottles and campaigns to bring your own bottle are taken, there are other equally pressing environmental concerns lurking by the wayside: Paper towels. 

Ask yourself, do you subscribe to one or more of the following myths?
  • Myth 1: Trees are sustainable so paper towels don’t impact the forests

  • Myth 2: Paper towels decompose in landfills

  • Myth 3: Most paper towels are made from recycled paper

  • Myth 4: Everyone uses paper towels

  The truth is, just as mindless as consumers have been regarding the use of plastic bottles, so it is with the use of paper towels. In fact, there are 3,000+ tons of paper towels "thrown away" to landfills every day. It took consumers time and a broader perspective to understand the environmental concerns of plastics.  Eco awareness, education and behavior change is needed to address the resource and environmental issues associated with paper towels:  
  • It takes 24 trees to make 1 ton of virgin fiber for paper towels

  • Planting trees is not the same as saving forests

  • Paper products represent 31% of the landfill waste in 2008

  • 50% of paper towels wind up in landfills where they do not easily decompose emitting methane emissions that can contribute to climate change

  • 3,460,000 tons of tissues and paper towels wound up in landfills in 2008

Simply put, there is no “away” in throw away.  So, what is the solution?  Click here to learn more about responsible waste solutions.


Home to one third of the earth's trees, the Taiga is the largest land-based biosphere and encircles the globe. Its immense oxygen production literally changes the atmosphere and refreshes the planet. It is this continuous renewal that has shaped Taiga Company's vision to drive similar change in the business world. Taiga Company seeks to be the "oxygen for your business".