Global Toilet Tissue Crisis

The toilet tissues we use today were first manufactured in 1857 by an American producer named Joseph Cattey. These tissues are sustainable papers and specially used for personal cleaning.

This essential need is one of the most consumed products in the world. In the United States, alone, people spend approximately $6 billion annually on toilet tissues. This massive demand requires massive production. One tree equals to 200 rolls which makes 45 kilograms of toilet tissues which means 27.000 trees must be cut and 83 million rolls must be produced to satisfy the global need.

Toilet tissues have more function then it seems. Other than in bathrooms, they can be used in nose care, makeup removal, covering toilet seats, material packaging, cleaning mirrors, cleaning glasses and more. Multifunctionality makes toilet tissues more valuable. That is why Coronavirus pandemic caused toilet tissue shortages in many countries.

People around the world are obliged to work from home. In addition to that, schools are closed, events and other daily interrupts are cancelled to keep communities safe. Social scientists say these precautions led to stockpiling. Because people get scared of the uncertainty, what is yet to come and the inventory stockouts. There are some examples of this issue. In Austria, for instance, 192.000 rolls of toilet tissue were sold in half an hour. In Berlin, consumers had cleared the shelves of toilet tissues, tissues, paper towels and plastic gloves. Hong Kong drew the most horrifying image. An armed gang robbed a shop of 600 rolls of toilet tissue.

Other than panic buying and stockpiling there is one more problem that we have to deal with. Tissue paper manufacturers enhanced retail prices, just like any other hygiene product manufacturer. In the United Kingdom, supermarkets were swept off of panic buying. After this, The Guardian reported a U.K.-based eBay user selling a 72-pack of toilet tissue for £84,99, tripling the regular retail price. Though this is not the case for every manufacturer. Some tissue paper companies did not enhance the prices but started keeping their factories working for 24 hours.


Zeynep Şevval Taşar