Fiber Focused, Green Seal Opens GS-1 Revision

Contributed by BSM Staff

WASHINGTON -- Green Seal is recruiting qualified applicants to join a working group that will assist with a revision to its GS-1 Sanitary Paper Products standard.

The deadline to apply  to join the committee is September 15.

“We are looking for individuals that can provide technical and market expertise and have specialized knowledge of the paper industry, solid waste and recycling, and carbon benefits of alternative fibers (e.g., bamboo),” said the non-profit organization.

Sanitary paper products such as toilet paper, paper towels, and facial tissues are essential items used at home and work each day. These products are typically used only once before being thrown or flushed away. Pulp used to make these products can come from several sources, including wood (virgin fiber), recycled content, and alternative fibers such as bamboo.

The fiber composition of these products has a significant impact on their overall environmental footprint. For example, products made from virgin fiber can generate three times as many CO2 emissions as products made from other types of pulp. 

Using recycled content in sanitary paper products results in lower greenhouse gas emissions because it eliminates the emissions associated with extracting and manufacturing virgin materials. Additionally, the collection and re-processing of recovered materials (paper products that have been diverted from waste streams) results in reduced carbon emissions across the product lifecycle.

In particular, recovered materials have reduced carbon footprints because they preserve forests — which serve as carbon sinks — and divert materials from landfills where discarded products emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas. 

The market for recycled fiber has undergone dramatic changes in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. Due to these changes, Green Seal is evaluating possible revisions to the sustainability criteria in its GS-1 Standard for Sanitary Paper Products — including the highly stringent recycled fiber requirements — to ensure they align with market needs as well as new sustainability opportunities for the product category.

Through this revision, Green Seal will also explore the potential for certification pathways for sustainably sourced alternative fibers (e.g., bamboo) and will assess whether different leadership criteria are needed for the household market versus the away-from-home market.

Green Seal’s reputation for credibility and market impact rests on an open and transparent process for developing science-based criteria, following international best practices. It is actively working with stakeholders to develop draft criteria for public comment. 

This revision will include the following: 
•     Evaluating the standard’s recycled content requirements based on the landscape of the recycled fiber market.
•     Exploring potential certification pathways for sustainably sourced alternative fibers, such as bamboo.
•     Evaluating leadership criteria for both the household and the away-from-home markets. 

The timeline for participation is October 2023 through March 2024. No travel is required.

For more, go to