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It's a Complete Mystery. Where Are the Rolls of Toilet Paper Going?

Wiped out of toilet paper? Here's why
Posted at 7:21 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 22:12:28-04

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Photos of empty shelves in the toilet paper aisles have flooded social media outlets in the past few weeks.

Viewers in the Green Country area informed us that they have been to several grocery stores only to discover at every location they were completely sold out of toilet paper.

Stores are receiving shipments and you may get lucky if you show up at the perfect time a shipment happens to arrive. One viewer described the moment as a miracle, seeing an employee at the store bringing out a single box of Angel Soft, placing the contents on the shelf and shoppers immediately placing them in their carts.

It’s a complete mystery. Where is all the bathroom tissue going in this nation?

2 Works for You decided to go right to the source to ask about this recent pandemic phenomenon.

Georgia-Pacific is one of the leading manufacturers of bathroom tissue and paper towels in the world. The company owns 14 paper plants in 11 states, including one located in Muskogee. You may recognize some of their brands, including Quilted Northern®, Angel Soft®, Brawny®, Dixie®, enMotion®, Sparkle®, Mardi Gras® and Vanity Fair®.

Eric Abercrombie is a representative of the public and communications department at Georgia-Pacific. Abercrombie states that since the middle of March, 2020, their facilities are producing 1.5 million toilet paper rolls a day.

“We have seen a surge of orders – specifically healthcare, manufacturing, retail, grocery and other essential businesses that are still operating," according to a statement on the Georgia-Pacific website.

Abercrombie explains that as more families are spending more time in the household, with people working from home and as schools closing, there is an estimated 40% increase in our daily toilet paper usage.

Georgia-Pacific is also working to maximize their deliveries. This week they managed to load and ship out 120% of their normal capacity.

Many households are now purchasing their grocery items online and having their order delivered. 2 Works for You has heard reports from viewers ordering their bathroom tissue through a website and when their shopper arrives to the location, discovers that they are all sold out.

How much toilet paper does one need during a pandemic?

The average two person household would need around nice double rolls or five mega rolls to last two weeks, according to IRI data and the U.S. Census. The average family of four would need 17 double rolls or nice mega rolls for a two week period.

The struggle to provide this very basic and necessary item seems to affect families across the states and the world. How long will it be until we are able to see the grocery store shelves fully stocked of paper towels and bathroom tissue as they were months ago?

"The timing is uncertain due to many variables in the supply chain process," Abercrombie said. "Our primary focus is to do all we can to meet consumer demand. We’re quickly responding by increasing production and utilizing a managed distribution process to smartly manage through this unusual period."

With the current surge of toilet paper demand, can buyers order paper products directly?

The company does have an online store for the public to purchase their products, but that have recently decided to focus their market with their retail partners, according to the Georgia-Pacific website.

"We paused that path of purchase for now because we feel the quickest way to get TP into the hands of consumers is to send it directly to retail outlets from our operations," Abercrombie said. "We apologize that consumers can’t order it from us directly at this time, but shipping directly to retailers will get consumers what they need faster. We hope to get this functionality turned back on soon."

Until then, it seems as if shopping for bathroom tissue has become both a mystery and a matter of luck and timing.

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