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Toilet Paper Manufacturers Respond to Unprecedented Demand

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Toilet paper sales are on a roll (pun intended). Talk about a smash-hit commodity product — and all because of the coronavirus.

Since the virus has taken hold, toilet paper’s value has been worth more to Americans than Apple stock, which has plummeted like most stocks. As households hunker down and people buy in bulk, they are mostly buying TP … for some reason. Perhaps people are more fearful of running out of toilet paper than they are of the coronavirus itself.

As is, the run on toilet paper has TP manufacturers sweating a bit, according to a recent CNN story. Those manufacturers have had to step up their efforts in the give-consumers-what-they-want department.

“If you ask me why everyone is grabbing toilet paper, I can’t really explain it,” Tom Sellars, CEO of Milwaukee-based Sellars Absorbent Materials, a processor and converter of paper and related products, told CNN. “It’s not like we are suddenly using more of it. But the surge in demand could strain the supply chain.”

Atlanta-based Georgia Pacific, the maker of Angel Soft and Quilted Northern toilet paper, is also trying to keep up with demand. The company reported that some retail orders had nearly doubled and that it had shipped out more than 20 percent of its capacity, CNN reported.

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), which represents toilet paper and tissue product companies, even issued a statement regarding the consumer run on toilet paper.

“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 purchases,” AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock said. “Rest assured, tissue products continue to be produced and shipped — just as they are 52 weeks each year as part of a global market.”

But according to CNN, rapidly increasing toilet paper production may not be feasible. Manufacturers might have to recalibrate factory production to make more of one type of product and less of another.

At ST Paper & Tissue in Oconto Falls, Wis., toilet paper is also being manufactured 24/7, with 200 employees at the helm. But Sahil Tak, who co-owns ST Paper & Tissue with his father, told CNN that he was worried about having to shut down the facility if one of his employees tested positive for the virus.

“What we are dealing with here is uncharted,” Tak said.

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