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The pandemic is changing just about everything, including the paper industry

Toilet paper is just the start.

An unsettlingly familiar sight through the COVID-19 pandemic is empty grocery store shelves—especially in the toilet paper and paper towel aisle. It happened right away, social distancing was enforced, and the toilet paper started keeping its distance too. It seemed people were worried about being without and so they bought as much toilet paper and paper towels as they could find.

Of course, toilet paper is essential to running a happy and healthy household, but the mad dash to stockpile seemed like overkill to most. This pandemic panic buying of such a basic staple created a kind of hysteria and subsequently overwhelmed the tissue and toweling manufacturers. And unfortunately, this was just the first shoe to drop in the toilet paper shortage saga.

In addition, people have interrupted their regularly scheduled program of going to the office, school, restaurants, airports, and pretty much every other public place where they commonly used to use the restroom. Unlike the use in commercial restroom locations, our home toilet paper inventory systems are not as efficient, and we tend to over-purchase when migrating from the office or traveling as we once did.  The combination of this along with hoarding created a mega shortage. 

Raw materials are in short supply.

So where exactly does toilet paper come from?  Much of the raw material used for toilet paper and paper towels come from recycled office paper. With the closure of businesses and the stay at home orders, the supply of recycled paper has been interrupted.  Paper once consumed in offices is now being produced in the home office where there may or may not be a shredding policy in place.  This impacts the volume of paper that is recovered.  Experts estimate that as much as 70% of shredded paper once captured at the office, is now missing and likely being landfilled. 

So demand is up and supply is low.  The outlook is a potentially crappy situation. 

If your company’s relationship with paper and recycling has changed with social distancing contact DataShield. We will tailor a solution that leaves nothing to chance and will help you keep your information and reputation safe during the pandemic and for the long haul.



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