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Remember when toilet paper was going to be our new currency? Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The environmental damage caused by our toilet paper-buying habits has worsened during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Most at-home toilet paper is made from virgin material produced by clear-cutting forests, unlike the office toilet paper, which is usually made from recycled fibers. As a result, the shift to doing business at home hasn't been good for forests.

What's new: This week the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a new report detailing the link between major U.S. toilet paper manufacturers and the destruction of Canada's boreal forest.

  • NRDC found that while a number of companies have seen growth in toilet paper from recycled materials, the top manufacturers still depend on 100% virgin forest fiber, feeding what the group calls a "tree-to-toilet pipeline."

But there's a reason why many toilet paper makers still use virgin fiber: it's a lot softer, which many consumers not surprisingly prefer when buying their own supply.

  • Office buildings, by contrast, usually fill their bathrooms with recycled fiber toilet paper, either for the environmental effect or because it's cheaper.

The bottom line: We seem to value our bottoms more than the planet.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 5, 2020 - World

New Zealand "beat the virus again," PM Jacinda Ardern says

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern participates in early voting at the Mt. Eden War Memorial Hall in Auckland on Saturday. Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Auckland will join the rest of New Zealand this week in enjoying no domestic coronavirus restrictions after the city's outbreak was deemed "under control," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced Monday.

Driving the news: The second COVID-19 outbreak that began in August in New Zealand's most populous city grew to 179 cases, Ardern said at a briefing. "Only five people from the cluster are yet to recover," she said.

A West Wing meltdown

President Trump takes ride outside Walter Reed, with Secret Service agents in the sealed Suburban. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

White House crises of competence and credibility grew during a botched weekend that left even White House aides dismayed and befuddled.

Many complained bitterly about the leadership of chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Oct 4, 2020 - Health

Trump's former FDA chief: Pence is "not in the clear" from coronavirus infection

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday that Vice President Mike Pence is "not in the clear" from getting the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Pence is expected to hit the campaign trail hard later this week, even as President Trump is in Walter Reed Medical Center for COVID-19 treatment.

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