Toilet paper is generally made from new or “virgin” paper, using a combination of softwood and hardwood trees.
Softwood trees such as Southern pines and Douglas firs have long fibers that wrap around each other; this gives paper strength. Hardwood trees like gum, maple and oak have shorter fibers that make a softer paper. Toilet paper is generally a combination of approximately 70% hardwood and 30% softwood.
Other materials used in the manufacture of toilet paper include water, chemicals for breaking down the trees into usable fiber, and bleaches.
Companies that make paper from recycled products use oxygen, ozone, sodium hydroxide, or peroxide to whiten the paper. Virgin toilet paper manufacturers, however, often use chlorine-based bleaches (chlorine dioxide), which have been identified as a threat to the environment