sunny.png
Saturday March 28th, 2020 4:24PM

Amid virus, humble toilet paper is suddenly a hot commodity

By The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — There's no denying Tissue Plus is on a roll.

As luck would have it, the company launched production of toilet paper a couple of weeks ago — just as the reality of the coronavirus outbreak was starting to hit the U.S. Consumers began stocking up on the basic necessity in the event they had to isolate or quarantine at home for weeks.

“You could argue this is impeccable timing," President Marc Cooper said from the plant in Bangor, Maine. But in reality, he said, it's stressful because the company is inundated with frantic customers seeking to buy more toilet paper than the small factory can produce.

From Maine to Oregon, toilet paper producers are ramping up production and shipping operations to resupply stores wiped out by consumers buying toilet paper and paper towels in bulk. But the toilet paper is flying off the shelves as fast as stores can restock them.

Even shopping clubs like Costco and big box retailers like Walmart and Target that have enormous stocks were emptied of toilet paper and paper towels. Those stores are still getting shipments, but the shelves are emptied all over again as soon as they're restocked. In Maine, officials are investigating a convenience store accused of selling $10 rolls of toilet paper.

The numbers back up the reports from the field: Toilet paper sales nationally jumped about 213% in the week ending March 14, compared to the same period a year before, according to market research firm Nielsen.

The Great Toilet Paper Panic of 2020 was not confined to the United States. A video seen widely earlier this month from Australia showed three women brawling over toilet paper, underscoring the dire situation.

“People are scared. When people are fearful, they’re going to resort to hoarding. People don’t want to be left without," shopper Jenilee Bryant said at a Walmart outside Portland, Maine, that was sold out of toilet paper. Thankfully, Bryant managed to secure a six-pack the day before at a drug store.

It's not just panic driving the demand: Americans are going to need more toilet paper in their homes because they're working remotely and children aren't going to school.

The industry estimates that would mean a 140% boost in toilet paper consumption in homes based on data from market research company IRI and the U.S. census, said Eric Abercrombie from Georgia-Pacific, maker of Quilted Northern and Angel Soft.

The good news is that most toilet paper sold in the U.S. is made at paper mills in North America. That'll make it easier to resupply stores while many foreign-made products suffer from delays and supply bottlenecks.

But the fear of shortages is bad enough that some folks are talking about using everything from paper towels to tissues to magazines in an emergency. Officials are worried that sewers and septic systems could get clogged if people start getting inventive.

In California, some communities are blaming several sewage spills on clogs caused by wipes and paper towels that shouldn't have been flushed.

And some Americans are showing an increased interest in bidets, popular in Europe and elsewhere, that use a squirt of water for post-potty hygiene.

Consumers should be happy to know that the toilet paper manufacturers are unflinching in the face of heavy demand. "We're working around the clock to make sure we can keep delivering products to the retailers as fast as possible,” Loren Fanroy, spokeswoman for Charmin, said from Procter & Gamble's headquarters in Cincinnati.

In Bangor, Cooper's company is not a fly-by-night operation that aims to cash in the situation. The plant has been in the works for a year, and the company bought the building in June, he said.

The company takes large rolls from mills and cuts it to size to be used as toilet paper, napkins, folded paper towels, and paper towel rolls, Cooper said.

“You hate to look at it as you’re capitalizing on the misfortune of our world circumstances. But I’m grateful that we can help in some way and that we can contribute and provide something that people need desperately,” he said.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Germany approves aid package for small companies
The German government has approved an aid package to help companies and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic
8:02AM ( 41 minutes ago )
The Latest: Puerto Rico's 2nd fatality a U.S. tourist
The second death from COVID-19 in Puerto Rico is a tourist from the United States
7:34AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Pope Francis cancels trip due to coronavirus
Pope Francis has canceled his planned day trip to Malta on May 31 due to the coronavirus
6:22AM ( 2 hours ago )
U.S. News
Stocks jump higher after Fed moves to help businesses
Stock markets are turning higher after the Federal Reserve said it will lend to small and large businesses and local government to help them cope with the economic damage created by the coronavirus pandemic
8:41AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Aftershocks rattle Croatian capital a day after strong quake
Croatia has experienced a series of aftershocks a day after a strong earthquake triggered widespread damage and injured at least 27 people in the capital
8:37AM ( 6 minutes ago )
War-torn Syria braces for lockdown after first virus case
Syrians are rushing to stock up on food and fuel amid fears that authorities will resort to even stricter measures after reporting the first coronavirus infection in the country, where the healthcare system has been decimated by nearly a decade of civil war
8:35AM ( 8 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Presidents in health crises: Trump more hands-on than many
Most American presidents will confront a crisis — or crises — during their time in office, whether it is a natural disaster, war, economic downturn, public health threat or terrorism
6:24AM ( 2 hours ago )
Syrians rush to stock up; Iran reports 127 more virus deaths
Syrians are rushing to stock up on food and fuel amid fears that authorities will resort to even stricter measures after reporting the first coronavirus infection in the country, where the healthcare system has been decimated by nearly a decade of civil war
6:14AM ( 2 hours ago )
Congressional rescue talks churn as viral crisis expands
The latest economic rescue package being negotiated in Washington is now nearly $2 trillion
5:58AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
The Latest: South Korea raises testing of European arrivals
South Korea says it tested more than 1,440 passengers arriving from Europe for the coronavirus as the country tightens border controls to prevent the illness from re-entering from the West
11:57PM ( 8 hours ago )
The Latest: Limited movement allowed in Chinese city Wuhan
The central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus outbreak emerged, is now allowing for limited movement within and outward as its months-long lockdown gradually eases
11:01PM ( 9 hours ago )
What you need to know today about the virus outbreak
The death toll from the global coronavirus pandemic has surpassed 14,600 people worldwide and sickened more than 335,000
10:31PM ( 10 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Air Canada lays off 5,000, Airbus gets loan to endure crisis
Air Canada is laying off more than 5,000 flight attendants as demand plunges amid travel controls imposed to fight the coronavirus
7:03AM ( 1 hour ago )
Air Canada lays off 5,000, France tries to save food supply
Air Canada is laying off more than 5,000 flight attendants as demand plunges amid travel controls imposed to fight the coronavirus
6:14AM ( 2 hours ago )
Infantino eyes reboot for soccer to avoid crisis
FIFA president Gianni Infantino says the future of soccer could be fewer games and fewer top competitions to help avoid a financial crisis
6:08AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
As crisis deepens, congressional rescue deal teeters
Top-level negotiations between Congress and the White House are teetering over a now nearly $2 trillion economic rescue package as the coronavirus pandemic deepens
8:31PM ( 12 hours ago )
The Latest: Curfew in Saudi Arabia, closures in Dubai
Saudi Arabia has announced an evening curfew will be in effect from 7 p
8:14PM ( 12 hours ago )
The Latest: Target apologizes for mask sales in Washington
Target Corp. has apologized for selling face masks in Seattle stores while hospitals face a dire shortage
9:27PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
The Latest: Germany approves aid package for small companies
The German government has approved an aid package to help companies and individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic
8:02AM ( 41 minutes ago )
The Latest: Puerto Rico's 2nd fatality a U.S. tourist
The second death from COVID-19 in Puerto Rico is a tourist from the United States
7:34AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Pope Francis cancels trip due to coronavirus
Pope Francis has canceled his planned day trip to Malta on May 31 due to the coronavirus
6:22AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: WHO warns of fraud during coronavirus crisis
The World Health Organization says criminals are increasingly posing as WHO officials in an effort to swipe information or money from people during the coronavirus crisis
6:05AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: British officials put new jury trials on hold
British justice officials have put new jury trials on hold as the court system places safety measures in place amid the coronavirus crisis
4:57AM ( 3 hours ago )