Whether it is one-ply or two, toilet paper is in high demand worldwide these days. In fact, toilet paper and paper towels are common purchases year round, whether we’re in the midst of a global pandemic or not.
Arguably one the most popular products produced from the forestry industry, retail toilet paper demand swelled to unforeseen heights in March, with $1.45 billion in toilet paper sales that month, up a whopping 112 per cent from a year earlier.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has created a greater need for N95 masks for frontline health care workers. Pulp is one of the primary components in those masks, which are being mass-produced by the millions each day for past several weeks.
A pulp mill plant in B.C., has played a major role in this production. The pulp here is unique in the world and because it’s a blend of primarily western red cedar, a soft fibre, it allows it to be mixed with synthetics to make the end products like masks and gowns.
“Our society would be far worse off if we didn’t have access to forest products,” says Darryl Sande, vice-president at the Association of Saskatchewan Forestry Professionals and Manager of Saskatchewan Operations at Forsite Consultants.
“Forest products are important for the safety and protection of our frontline health care workers and, ultimately, to the protection of our society.”
Perhaps the most obvious product produced by the forestry sector is lumber, both hardwood and softwood. Luxury items like our backyard decks, garages and the bleachers from where we watch our kids play sports all are made with lumber.
More practical uses for lumber are the construction of our homes and schools, hospitals and office buildings.
The newspapers, magazines and books we love to read are all made with forestry products.
Now, imagine our society without these products. The health and safety we rely on from our health care staff would be compromised, as would the structural design of our homes.
The forest industry plays a significant role in our daily lives, whether we realize it or not.