Should you spend your green on green paper towels?

Find out how towels made from recycled paper did in Consumer Reports’ tests

Published: November 19, 2013 12:25 PM

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During the upcoming holidays, you're probably going to use a ton of paper towels for chores around the house. But unless you’re willing to sacrifice performance, you might want to think twice about buying paper towels made from recycled paper.

Seventh Generation Right Size, which the maker claims is made from 100 percent recycled paper, earned only good scores across the board in our absorbency, scrubbing, and wet-strength tests. (By contrast, the top towel we reviewed received three excellent scores.) At $2.74 per 100 square feet, this Seventh Generation product is also among the priciest towels we tested.

Another recycled option is the Scott Naturals Mega Roll Choose-A-Size, made with a claimed 60 percent recycled fibers. At $1.60 per 100 square feet, it costs less than the Seventh Generation and was stronger when wet, although it too wasn’t very absorbent.

Get more details in our paper towel buying guide, and check our Ratings to find out which paper towels did best in our tests. Hint: The top three towels come from the same big brand. Plus learn how to clean up common holiday messes.

—Consumer Reports

Paper towels and your pet

Paper towels are ideal for cleaning up after your lovable pet’s puddles or other messes. But don’t throw the paper towel in the toilet after cleaning up. Sure, flushing away that smelly mess is quick and easy. But paper towels take much longer to disintegrate than toilet paper does and can cause your toilet to back up, especially if you have a septic system or older cast-iron or concrete sewer pipes.


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