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The Great Toilet Paper Conspiracy

February 19, 2015

Is the government lying to us about UFOs? Was the moon landing staged? These alleged conspiracies pale in comparison to what could be happening in your bathroom right this very minute.

Toilet Paper ConspiracyToilet paper rolls are shrinking.

This is according to a recent report in the Washington Post. While the industry standard for a single sheet of toilet paper was once a square of 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches, in recent years several manufacturers have reportedly reduced the size of their sheets by as much as half an inch in length, width…or even both. Indeed, a 2014 study by Consumer Reports acknowledged that toilet paper rolls are becoming narrower while “cardboard tubes grow in diameter, the number of sheets per roll falls, and the sheets get smaller.”

At first glance, toilet paper rolls look like they’re the same size they’ve always been…even though they contain less actual toilet paper. Worse yet, American consumers are paying a bit more than they once did for their TP. In 2013, the “unit price” for bathroom tissue rose by an estimated 2 percent.

So why are toilet paper manufacturers doing this? To make more money, of course, but there’s more to it than that. Many of these companies also crank out other paper products like napkins and paper towels and those haven’t been selling so well recently. Cutting back on manufacturing costs for TP is one way to recoup lost revenue. Meanwhile, brands like Charmin argue that they’ve improved the quality of their TP. They say that flimsy sheets are a thing of the past and that consumers demand softer and sturdier sheets. Higher quality means higher prices and skinnier rolls.

Whatever the reasons behind this recent phenomenon, you might want to be a bit more stingy the next time you wipe.

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