Tree-free nose-wipes

Wendy Gordon, General Manager, National Geographic's

It's back to school time, which brings the return of those nasty colds that travel from kid to kid through the entire class. Did you know the average American uses 50 pounds of tissue paper per year? That equals a lot of felled trees if every pound comes from virgin pulp.

That fact drove me to start buying recycled-content paper products. I've learned with time to look for the highest content of "post-consumer waste," or PCW:

Marcal products are entirely recycled, and although they contain a relatively low level of PCW content, that brand is the one most commonly found in conventional grocery and drug stores.

Natural food stores will provide you with a greater selection of products with a higher PCW content, offering brands like Seventh Generation, Earth First, and -- at Whole Foods only -- 365.

If you're really dedicated to the cause, online retailer Green Earth Office Supply sells a Finnish brand of toilet paper called Heron's, which is 100 percent PCW and even comes without the pesky, albeit recyclable, cardboard roll.

For a complete list of recycled-content (and chlorine-free) paper products, you can download's Paper Products Smart Shopper's Card.

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