When they were young, my children would use the empty tubes from rolls of toilet paper for craft projects at school. We still have an angel with paper wings that my daughter made as a Christmas decoration one year. As they got older, my children simply placed the empty tubes on top of the water tank, eventually amassing a small forest of cylinders.
Although toilet paper tubes can be recycled, most just end up in the garbage. Kimberly-Clark (K-C) says 17 billion toilet paper tubes are made in the United States each year, and they account for 160 million pounds of trash. Plus the tubes are an added step and expense in the manufacturing process.
To eliminate that wastefulness, K-C has introduced tube-free toilet paper. The tube-free product is being test-marketed at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in the northeastern United States.
In October, Domtar launched a campaign to remind people about the value of using paper. The global “Paper Because” advertising effort has included magazine and newspaper ads, online banner ads, and videos. As part of the campaign, Domtar also has created a Web site (www.paperbecause.com) with information supporting the ideas that paper is sustainable, personable, and purposeful.
Among the messages Domtar is sharing is that it’s easier and more efficient to learn information read on paper than on a computer screen. In a true or false section, Domtar notes that “Virgin fiber harvested using recognized third-party certified sustainable forestry practices is as environmentally sound as the use of recycled fiber.” In another section, the message is “Paper is critical to helping small businesses grow. Direct mail is less expensive than broadcast or other media, and helps them compete with larger companies.”
K-C and Domtar are sending somewhat contrasting “green” messages. K-C is reducing waste by eliminating a component, Domtar is reminding consumers about the value of using paper, which can have a range of environmental benefits. Both are taking innovative approaches to marketing their concepts and their products. The results could benefit other companies within the industry, and the campaigns will provide interesting lessons in marketing to a diverse and technologically savy (or even obsessive) audience.