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Paper towels Buying Guides

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Consumer Reports has no relationship with advertisers on PriceGrabber


`Green' paper towels

White Cloud Green Earth (Walmart) led the pack of the green brands we tested. The others were 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods), CVS Earth Essentials, Earth Friendly Products, Green Forest, Marcal Small Steps, Scott Naturals, Seventh Generation, and Trader Joe's. But all green brands were in the lower half of our Ratings.

An understanding of green labels will help you to sort out the eco-claims before you buy.


Who makes the claim: Earth Friendly Products (paper towels, not packaging), Trader Joe's (packaging, not paper towels).

What it means: The Federal Trade Commission says that biodegradable products should break down and return to nature in a reasonably short time.

Fragrance free

Who makes the claim: 365 Everyday Value, Marcal Small Steps, Seventh Generation.

What it means: It has no official standard definition.


Who makes the claim: 365 Everyday Value, Green Forest.

What it means: It has no official standard definition.

Post-consumer recycled content

Who makes the claim: 365 Everyday Value, CVS Earth Essentials, Earth Friendly Products, Green Forest, Seventh Generation, Trader Joe's, White Cloud Green Earth.

What it means: The type of recycled material or the portion of post-consumer content is not required to be listed. If it is listed, look for a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content.


Who makes the claim: All green brands that we tested.

What it means: According to FTC guidelines, recycled claims may be used for products or packaging that contain either pre-consumer waste (such as shavings from the paper mill) or tree-saving postconsumer waste (newspapers and shipping cartons).

Whitened without chlorine

Who makes the claim: Almost all green brands we tested.

What it means: The product could be made with other chemicals that might still be toxic to the environment; unbleached paper is a better choice and makes for stronger towels.

Visit for our latest information on Paper towels

Copyright © 2006-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

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