Kimberly-Clark Professional announced the launch of GreenHarvest products, a cutting edge offering that incorporates rapidly renewable plant-based fiber, such as wheat straw and bamboo, into Kleenex and Scott brand towel and tissue products. Kimberly-Clark Professional is the first major towel and tissue manufacturer in North America to introduce products made with 20 percent plant fiber in place of tree fiber or recycled fiber. These innovative products required the development of an entirely new supply chain to directly obtain wheat straw from U.S. farmers and the creation of a first-of-its-kind manufacturing process for converting plant fiber into pulp.
“In a resource-constrained, digital world, with fewer sources of recycled fiber, and the need to put less pressure on natural forests, it’s important to continue exploring non-tree fibers,” said Iris V. Schumacher, North American Sustainability leader, Kimberly-Clark Professional. “With the GreenHarvest line, Kimberly-Clark is pioneering a new approach to sustainable fiber sourcing and delivering innovative products with the quality and performance customers expect from our trusted brands.”
GreenHarvest offerings include Kleenex hard roll towel and Kleenex Cottonelle coreless standard roll bathroom tissue made with 20 percent bamboo fiber, and Scott multi-fold towels, standard roll bathroom tissue, coreless JRT Jr. bathroom tissue and coreless standard roll bathroom tissue made with 20 percent wheat straw fiber.
These products, along with Kimberly-Clark Professional Forest Stewardship Council Certified (FSC) and ECOLOGO certified products, can help facilities earn points toward Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) STARS program.
Rapidly Renewable Fiber
Bamboo and wheat straw meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s definition of rapidly renewable materials because they can regenerate in less than 10 years. These fibers have shorter harvesting cycles, which reduces the amount of land needed to support demand and takes advantage of abundant plant sources.
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and some species can grow at rates of more than three feet per day. Wheat straw is the residue that remains after wheat is harvested. Over 45 million tons of this agricultural byproduct is generated in the U.S. every year, with relatively few beneficial uses. Incorporating these fiber “leftovers” into towel and tissue products helps reduce farmland waste and provides additional income to farmers, by enhancing the value of their crops.
“By creating a new, beneficial use for wheat straw, Kimberly-Clark Professional is providing an economic boost for farmers, adding value to our state’s largest crop and helping us reduce agricultural waste,” said Aaron Harries, vice president of research and operations, Kansas Wheat Commission. “It’s a win-win-win solution for farmers, the economy and the environment.”
Kimberly-Clark Professional has a long history of innovation and environmental leadership. It has invented entirely new product categories, such as coreless and jumbo roll (JRT) bathroom tissue, and was the first away-from-home towel and tissue products company in North America to obtain FSC chain-of-custody certification for a broad range of towel and tissue products. It currently holds the largest portfolio of FSC certified towel and tissue products in North America.
In 2012, Kimberly-Clark Professional became the first major towel and tissue manufacturer in North America to pilot the use of products containing non-tree fiber. GreenHarvest products are the “next-generation” of these products, an initiative recognized by leading environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs).
“Kimberly-Clark has demonstrated that it can lead in the field of sustainable fiber for its tissue products,” said Rolf Skar, Forest Campaign Director, Greenpeace. “Its foray into the emerging field of commercial-scale sustainable alternative fibers is a good example. As one of the world’s largest towel and tissue products manufacturers, K-C is leading the way and showing other companies that they too can innovate to find new ways to make their supply chains more sustainable.”