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Tissue Agorà Blog

Posted By:Aug 25, 2015

Toilet paper was first used by the Chinese about 1300 years before it caught on with the rest of the world. The first references of people using toilet paper dates back to the 6th century AD in the Chinese Imperial courts and amongst the other wealthy citizens of China. This eventually spread throughout China and by the 14th century there was an annual manufacturing of around ten million packages of toilet paper in the Zhejiang province alone.

This however, did not catch on with the rest of the world for some time. Indeed, a Muslim traveler to China in the 8th century noted “They (the Chinese) are not careful about cleanliness, and they do not wash themselves with water when they have done their necessities; but they only wipe themselves with paper.” It wouldn’t be until the late 1800s when toilet paper would be introduced in America and England and it wasn’t until the 1900s, around the same time the indoor toilet became common, that toilet paper would catch on with the masses.

So what did people use before toilet paper? What was popular depended greatly on region, personal preference, and wealth. Rich people often used hemp, lace, or wool; poor people often would poop in rivers and clean off with water, rags, wood shavings (ouch!), leaves, hay, rocks, sand, moss, sea weed, apple husks, seashells (Demolition Man much?), ferns, and pretty much whatever else was at hand and cheap/free.

The Ancient Romans favorite wiping item, including in public restrooms, was a sponge on a stick that would sit in salt water and be placed back in the salt water when done… waiting for the next person… *shudders* (kind of brings new meaning to the saying “the wrong end of the stick”)

Ancient Greeks were a little more sanitary, using stones and pieces of clay. America’s favorite wiping item tended to be corn cobs and, later, Sears and Roebucks, Farmers Almanac, and other catalogs. The Farmers Almanac even came with a hole in it so it could be easily hung in bathrooms for just this purpose.

The 16th century French writer Francois Rabelais, in his work Gargantua and Pantagruel, notes that after pooping paper was useless, “Who his foul tail with paper wipes, shall at his ballocks leave some chips.” He instead recommended that “the neck of a goose, that is well downed” worked best.

In India and other middle eastern countries, even today, the preferred method is to wipe using nothing but your left hand and water and then, of course, wash your hand well afterward and don’t handle any food or the like with your left hand; as such, people who are left handed tend to be forced to become right handed early on in those regions.

For seaman, the common thing was to use old frayed anchor cables (seriously, how their butt’s survived, we may never know). The Inuit’s and other peoples living in frigid regions tended to go with clumps of snow to wipe with, which, other than the coldness factor, is actually one of the better options it seems compared to many other of the above methods.

Around 1857, Joseph Gayetty came up with the first commercially available toilet paper in the United States. His paper “The greatest necessity of the age! Gayetty’s medicated paper for the water-closet” was sold in packages of flat sheets that were moistened and soaked with aloe (about 130 years ahead of his time as it wasn’t until the 1990’s that toilet paper companies started doing this again). Gayetty’s toilet paper sold for about 50 cents a pack, with 500 sheets per pack. This wasn’t terribly popular, presumably because up to this point most people got their wiping materials for free from whatever was at hand.

Around 1867, brothers Edward, Clarence, and Thomas Scott, who sold products from a push cart, started making and selling toilet paper as well. They did a bit better than Gayetty, presumably because their original toilet paper wasn’t coated with aloe and moistened, thus was cheaper; rather it was more just rolls of somewhat soft paper (sometimes with splinters). They also had the somewhat innovative idea of putting the names of the companies that were buying the toilet paper on the paper. This wasn’t initially done as a business move to help sell the paper, rather was because they were uncomfortable with having their family name literally soiled. Putting the company names, such as with the Waldorf Hotel, on the toilet paper was a huge hit with the companies they were selling to and helped them stay in business where Gayetty had failed.

As the indoor flushable toilet started to become popular, so did toilet paper. This is not surprising considering there was nothing really to grab in an indoor bathroom to wipe with, unlike outdoors where nature is at your disposal. The age old Farmers Almanac and similar such catalogs also were not well suited for this purpose as in indoor plumbing it tended to clog up the pipes.

A few notable toilet paper innovations that came along were:

  • Rolled and perforated toilet paper made by the Albany Perforating Wrapping Paper Company in 1877 and shortly after the Scott Paper company in 1879.
  • In 1935 Northern Tissue boasted a “splinter free” toilet tissue, which would seem to imply that it was somewhat common for toilet tissue to have the occasional splinter before that due to poor manufacturing techniques of the day.
  • In 1942, St. Andrew’s paper mill in Great Britain introduced two-ply toilet paper.
  • In the 1990’s several toilet paper manufacturers began offering toilet paper treated with aloe, which they called a “great innovation”… as Joseph Gayetty rolls over in his grave.

Bonus Facts:

  • 44% of people wipe from front to back
  • 42% fold the tissue after wiping
  • 33% crumple
  • 8% fold and then crumple
  • 6% wrap it around their hands
  • Johnny Carson once caused a near month long toilet paper shortage in the U.S. in December of 1973. In his show, he said, “You know what’s disappearing from the supermarket shelves? Toilet paper… There’s an acute shortage of toilet paper in the United States.” Americans promptly went out and bought up every piece of toilet paper they could find. Supermarkets tried to ration it, but to no avail. By noon the next day, pretty much all the nation’s supermarkets were sold out. After several days of toilet paper shortages due to this hysteria, Carson went on the air to try to explain it had been a joke and apologized. But because the shelves were almost always empty of toilet paper at this time, whenever some would come in, people would buy it all and hoard it. This toilet paper shortage lasted a full three weeks.

Source: Today I found out

Posted By:Aug 5, 2015


Every ton of toilet paper produced requires about 1.75 tons of raw fiber. The amount of wood harvested annually may need to triple by 2050 to meet projected global demands for all industries—including pulp and paper.


Fifty percent of the fibers used to produce pulp for tissue goods come from recycled sources. Natural forests, plantations and tree farms supply the other 50%—and it’s often difficult to trace those virgin fibers to the specific forests they came from. The toilet paper you buy in a US grocery store, for example, could have been made with pulp from Brazil, Chile, Canada, Europe or Southeast Asia.


Deforestation in Brazil, which is driven by demand for wood and agricultural products, has declined by almost 80% since 2004. In Indonesia, meanwhile, deforestation has roughly doubled over the last decade—and most of that increase is driven by pulp and paper and palm oil production.


Average amount of toilet paper used by Americans per capita in a year. That’s roughly 130 rolls. The US is the world’s biggest buyer of toilet paper.


Brazil’s pulp and paper industry uses 5.4 million acres of planted forests, which were established on land that had been previously cleared for other purposes. And for every acre of forest used, about 1.3 acres have been restored or preserved in the country.


Sumatra is an ecological metropolis: the Indonesian island’s forests shelter 580 bird species and more than 200 mammal species, including critically endangered Sumatran tigers and elephants. But more than half of those forests have disappeared since 1985, and US markets have recently seen an influx of products made with fibers from Sumatran trees.


If you’re not sure where the toilet paper in your grocery store, school or hotel comes from, ask the management or call the manufacturer—and make sure they offer FSC®-certified products. FSC certification, the most rigorous such program available, ensures that forests are well managed, habitats are protected and local communities’ rights are respected.

Source: WWF 

Posted By:adminApr 17, 2015

A company plans to roll out a new line of tissues and paper towels this month that incorporates wheat straw and bamboo, which it hopes will provide a rapidly renewable and environmentally friendly source of fiber for its products while giving farmers a new market for what remains after the grain is harvested.

Kimberly-Clark Professional, which manufactures Kleenex and Scott brand products, says the new GreenHarvest line will blend in 20 percent wheat straw, which it hopes will ease demand for the tree fiber and recycled paper it already uses. It will help conserve natural resources and address what the Dallas-based company expects will be dwindling supplies of recycled paper.

“As we become more and more digital and perhaps that resource becomes less and less available, what is next? How are we going to continue to make paper products? And looking at these non-tree plant fiber alternatives is the next step,” said Iris Schumacher, the company’s North America sustainability leader. She said she thought Kimberly-Clark’s incorporation of the new fiber sources into everyday essentials such as toilet paper was likely to lead competitors to follow suit.

Wheat straw is already used in a few paper products, including a line of copy paper made of 80 percent straw that Staples sells. And later this month, the industry trade group Kansas Wheat will be meeting with representatives from a Taiwanese company called Npulp that uses wheat straw to make corrugated paper and packaging materials.

Scientific developments are also making it easier to break down cellulosic plant material and turn it into biofuels, and that makes plant material such as wheat straw and corn stover more attractive sources for cellulosic biofuel plants like the one operating in Holcomb, Kansas.

“People want sustainability in using natural materials, renewable materials,” said Aaron Harries, vice president of research and operations at Kansas Wheat.

Straw has also long been used for livestock bedding and mulch material.

Much of the straw stays in the field, especially in the drier areas of western Kansas, because it preserves moisture and prevents wind erosion, Mr. Harries said. But in the wetter parts of central Kansas where much of the state’s wheat is grown, plenty of excess straw is usually available.

“What it really does is provide some extra value to farmers who are able to sell their straw to one of these companies,” Mr. Harries said.

Kimberly-Clark began exploring the use of wheat straw back in 2011 and test marketed its prototype products in Canada, Indiana and California before deciding on a full-scale rollout this year, Ms. Schumacher said. The straw will be turned into pulp at its mill in Mobile, Alabama.

The GreenHarvest line includes Scott multifold towels and toilet tissue using 20 percent wheat straw fiber and Kleenex roll towels and bathroom tissue using 20 percent bamboo fiber. The products will not be sold at retail stores, but will be offered directly to commercial customers such as sports venues and higher education institutions, Ms. Schumacher said. The company’s consumer side will be keeping a close eye on how well it does there, she said.

Brian Dunn, who has a diversified farm near St. John in western Kansas, said he sold Kimberly-Clark 150 tons of straw about two years ago when the company first started researching the product.

“I’ve got young boys now that maybe someday, I hope, will have the opportunity to farm, and we always try to find something else that might add value to our farm,” he said. “I am always interested in new technology and new things, and so it was something interesting we could do, too, as part of our farming operation.”

But last year the drought left his wheat so short that he just plowed what little straw there was back into the soil, and it is so dry this season that he doesn’t anticipate having any excess straw to sell this year, either.

David Kreider, a custom harvester in Metter, Georgia, said he bales straw from about 20 farms, which he then sells to Kimberley-Clark for between $80 and $90 a ton, the going market price for it.

He said he had been trying to convince farmers that they can get money for their straw, instead of just burning their wheat fields after harvest, as many have done in years past. Kimberly-Clark has been steadily increasing its purchase of straw as it has prepared to introduce its new line of bathroom tissues made using straw, he said.

“I am very curious to see the end product,” Mr. Kreider said.

Kimberly-Clark figures that an acre of wheat could yield as much as a ton of straw — enough fiber to make 7,100 rolls of toilet paper.

“It is a pretty interesting product,” Mr. Dunn said. “And I am glad to know they can turn that old, prickly straw into something soft for your bottom.”

Posted By:Apr 3, 2015
 Have a look at this video and see:

- The pulp and paper industry’s resources are cascaded across the sectors
- its products are recycled at world class rates
- the water it uses is reused, cleaned and returned to the source
- and it collaborates with other sectors to close even more loops

For more information on the pulp and paper industry, go to 
Posted By:adminApr 1, 2015

In addition to the company becoming the first upstream supplier to join the new German based Partnership on Sustainable Textiles, EcoPlanet Bamboo Group has now lined up plantations that can provide more than 3 million tons of raw fiber annually to the pulp industry. These plantations are certified under the same international certification standards currently recognized by the pulp industry, which will allow bamboo pulp to be fed directly into the supply chain.

EcoPlanet is investing into leapfrogging technology to ensure that their bamboo fiber maintains its viability as a green alternative, throughout the length of the supply chain.
Only time will tell if bamboo will be the fiber that causes a paradigm shift as more fiber based materials are needed from everything from growing global tissue/paper/textile production to clean energy from cellulosic sources (cellulosic ethanol from fast growing tree farms) designed to absorb carbon as they are produced.
Posted By:adminMar 27, 2015

World demand for paper and paperboard is forecast to grow to 482 million metric tons in 2030, equaling an increase of 1.1% per year, according to the new global paper market study “World Paper Markets up to 2030” by Pöyry Management Consulting, Finland. The study forecasts the demand for more than 80 countries and country groups, and 10 product areas, including graphic, tissue, and packaging papers.

The demand for paper varies depending on type and region. The graphic paper market is facing huge challenges in particular, while increasing digitalization is shrinking demand for newsprint and other printing papers, as well as uncoated and coated wood-containing and wood-free papers. According to the Pöyry study, the demand for tissue paper, containerboards, and cartonboards will, however, grow up to 2030. This is driven by increasing packaging needs in emerging markets, booming eCommerce, and the growing demand for convenience food and consumer goods brands. The annual consumption of packaging material and tissue/hygiene products will, thus, rise by up to 2.9%.

Focusing on regional growth markets, it can be found that the demand for paper continues to grow in the emerging markets, such as China and India. This is due to the increasing population, urbanization, and the development of a new middle class. In Japan, North America, and Western Europe, on the other hand, the demand will decrease by around 0.8% per year up to 2030.

“Since 1950 the production of paper has continually grown. But the past five to six years were extremely challenging for the global paper industry, in particular for companies in Western markets,“ said Timo Suhonen from Pöyry Management Consulting.

As a result, Pöyry experts forecast a strong need for structural changes in the paper industry. “Especially in Western Europe we find an urgent need for further capacity reductions. After the markets in the emerging Asian regions have become more mature, the industry needs to take a more disciplined approach as to capacity expansions. Industry consolidation, acquisitions, mergers, and alliances start making more sense there, too,“ Suhonen adds. “In the past, exits from the graphic paper industry sometimes turned to entries into the packaging paper and paperboard sector through a conversion of the machines. However, this move would probably be the least painful one for multi-sector companies and always has to be decided on a case-by-case basis.“

The latest Pöyry Insight study “World Paper Markets up to 2030” addresses these and many other significant market issues that are of current strategic interest for all business participants, including pulp and paper companies, suppliers of machinery, equipment, chemicals and related inputs, investors, financiers, institutions, paper merchants, and traders and logistics companies.

Source: TAPPI (

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