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Toilet paper manufacturers think we’re all crazy, and we probably are

Published Mar 17th, 2020 7:06PM EDT
toilet paper
Image: Mint Images/Shutterstock

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  • Toilet paper quickly became a hot item for preppers in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Manufacturers are at a loss to explain the hoarding mentality and are now urging consumers to stop stockpiling toilet paper. 
  • Orders for toilet paper have skyrocketed, and manufacturers are struggling to meet the demand. 
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The coronavirus pandemic has taught us a lot about ourselves already, and not all of it is good. Soon after it became clear that we had a real problem on our hands, hoarding of basic consumer products sparked shortages of things that we shouldn’t be dealing with shortages of. One of those things is toilet paper.

Why are people stocking up on toilet paper? That’s a question that even toilet paper manufacturers can’t answer. In fact, it sounds like the folks making the toilet paper are completely baffled by the purchasing decisions being made in supermarkets and department stores around the world.

As CNN reports, CEO Tom Sellars of Sellars Absorbent Materials, a company that produces a variety of paper materials including toilet paper, can’t wrap his head around the rush to stockpile toilet tissue.

“If you ask me why everyone is grabbing toilet paper, I can’t really explain it,” Sellars said. “It’s not like we are suddenly using more of it. But the surge in demand could strain the supply chain.”

It’s that strain on the supply chain that is leaving shelves empty around the United States and abroad. Other major manufacturers of toilet paper have noted that their orders have spiked dramatically and, while they’re doing their best to ramp up production and ship out more toilet paper than they normally do, they simply can’t meet the skyrocketing demand.

Meanwhile, the American Forest & Paper Association, which represents companies that produce paper products, says that its members are doing everything they can, despite the bizarre circumstances.

“American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) members are committed to the safety of our workforce and our end-users,” AF&PA President Heidi Brock said in a statement. “This situation is highly dynamic and changing daily, and the industry is working diligently to respond to the spike in demand for tissue products due to coronavirus (COVID-19) purchases. Rest assured, tissue products continue to be produced and shipped – just as they are 52 weeks each year as part of a global market.”

Some companies are publicly urging consumers to be mindful of exactly what they’re doing. Hoarding toilet paper is probably pointless, and the increased strain on the supply chain is making it more difficult for others to get the products they need.

People should absolutely prepare themselves for social distancing and an eventual lockdown, if it comes to that, but having 200 rolls of toilet paper in your cabinet isn’t going to keep you from getting sick, and we should be doing our best to look out for one another during these strange times.