So why is toilet paper white anyway?

By | Wisdom | One Comment
Toilet paper (photography by Jordi Gallego)

Toilet paper (photography by Jordi Gallego)

I recently wrote an email to Kimberly Clark (famous for their paper products including Kleenex, Scott, Viva and Cottonelle) and asked why they bleach their toilet paper white. Their customer support explained that bleaching is not only for aesthetic purposes – it also removes the lignin or glue from the wood. The removal of lignin helps improve the strength, feel and shelf life of their tissue and paper.

Unfortunately, most paper mills and companies like Kimberly Clark use chlorine to bleach their toilet paper. The chlorine bleaching process creates many incredibly toxic by-products including dioxins which end up in our water systems and soils.

Humans are most often exposed to these chemicals by eating contaminated food (e.g. fish), drinking contaminated water, or by working at companies that produce dioxins (e.g. paper mills). It is believe that populations exposed to high levels of dioxins have increased risks of birth defects, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. You can learn more about studies on dioxins at the Nation Institute of Health.

I also wrote an email to Seventh Generation and asked why they whiten their toilet paper and why they, in contrast to Kimberly Clark, bleach without chlorine. Here’s Seventh Generation’s response from the Director of Contract Manufacturing:

“Our tissue products are whitened using processes that are chlorine free. Hydrogen peroxide and/or sodium hydrosulfate are typically used to whiten. Because our tissue products are made from 100% recycled feedstock, this lignin (glue) is not an issue for us. It has already been removed. The whitening process helps provide a tissue with consistent look and feel.

Although I tend to agree directionally with the statement about the lignin and its potential undesired impacts on tissue characteristics, I don’t necessarily agree that chlorine containing substances are the best overall methods for bleaching wood pulp when considering the potential adverse impact on the environment in which we live. Furthermore, I am not necessarily agreeing so readily that bleaching is absolutely necessary in order to make a tissue product that can meet consumer’s expectations. As a matter of fact, we offer an unbleached version of paper towels and napkins which tend to be well accepted by the Seventh generation customer. So, I am suggesting that even if bleaching result in somewhat better tissue characteristics, the value added may not be worth it if all aspects of the situation are being considered.”

As Seventh Generation mentions, there are alternatives to the chlorine bleaching processes. Here are your more eco-friendly options when it comes to toilet paper:

  • Unbleached: Completely natural – no bleach added. May not be a winner on softness or comfort.
  • Processed Chlorine Free (PCF): Recycled paper bleached with oxygen, ozone, or hydrogen peroxide. Examples brands of PCF toilet paper: Seventh Generation, Green Forest, Planet, 365 Whole Foods, Earth First. See the NRDC’s toilet paper comparison chart.
  • Totally Chlorine Free (TCF): Non-recycled paper bleached with oxygen, ozone, or hydrogen.

That was the good, now here’s the bad (and the ugly):

  • Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF): Paper bleached with chlorine dioxide. This process releases fewer dioxins than bleaching with chlorine gas, but it is still is harmful to the environment. Examples brands of ECF toilet paper: Charmin, Quilted Northern, Cottonelle, Angle Soft, Kleenex, Safeway Select
  • Chlorine Gas: Dioxins galore!

So the next time you’re purchasing toilet paper, try out paper that is chlorine free. It’s better for the environment and still white and soft.

Facebook Comments

Blood donation at Mahkota Parade, 22rd and 23th January 2011

By | Involvement, Photography | One Comment
"You are my hero, dad"

"You are my hero, dad"

We don’t need a special reason to give blood. We know that a family member or a friend might need blood some day and it’s the right thing we do. Donating blood is simple and is a safe process:

A tiny drop of blood is taken from your fingertip. This allows the staff of hospital to check your haemoglobin levels and ensure that giving blood won’t make you anaemic. If all is well, you will be able to donate blood. You will donate about 350ml or 450ml of blood – this amount of blood is quickly replaced by your body. Once you have given blood, you should have a short rest before being given some refreshments usually a drink and biscuits. All in all giving blood shouldn’t take more than an hour.

There was a blood donation event held in Mahkota Parade of Melaka last Saturday and Sunday. The event was organized by University of Malaya, Fifth Residential College of UM, Lions Club and Mahkota Parade. While we had some free time to shop for Chinese New Year goods in Mahkota Parade during the weekend, Wee-Peng and I dropped by the venue and I took some shots over there. Sharing some shots here:

crowd registering

crowd registering

Wee-Peng was waiting

Wee-Peng was waiting

blood grouping tiles

blood grouping tiles



donating blood

donating blood

busy medical assistants

busy medical assistants

Give HOPE! Save LIVES!

Give HOPE! Save LIVES!

adorable blood cell

adorable blood cell

Facebook Comments


By | Wisdom | No Comments

缅甸人 (image from

缅甸人 (image from









Facebook Comments


By | Life Journal, Photography | No Comments
paper cranes

paper cranes

how are you?
tell me that you arEE fine
spreading your wings freely
we were pair
singing in the autumn wind
dancing with the falling leaves
snowfall touched our feathers
nothing but the sign of change
it was time to depart
to the paradise of south
you took wing on the journey
while i was remained still
staying on the freezing ground
sorry i was lost
let you flying by yourself
even you were strong
on the passage without me
my flimsiness let you down
you were far
from seeing the tears of icy chill
and solitude of the winter moon
you brought me a message
in the night of silence
through the cloud from the south
to be as strong as you
now i spread my wings
heading to the direction
where the southern cross is
the trail i could hear your whisper
flying fast but low
under the cloud beneath you
as your shadow in white
whenever you fall
as always
i will be there
never again
i let you alone


Facebook Comments


By | Photography, Wisdom | No Comments
birth of Christ

birth of Christ









Facebook Comments