Americans have been stockpiling toilet paper as they remain home for an indeterminate amount of time, heeding the calls to practice social distancing and self-quarantining as they do their part to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The decision by many to hoard has led to a debate about just how much toilet paper people actually need.
Toilet paper manufacturer Georgia-Pacific LLC, which makes Quilted Northern and Angel Soft, culled data from the market research company IRI to figure the proper amount of toilet paper needed in the home.
“The average U.S. household (2.6 people) uses 409 equivalized regular rolls per year. Using our own calculations, staying at home 24-7 would result in ~40% increase vs. average daily usage,” a spokesman told TODAY in an email.
“Therefore, to last approximately 2 weeks, a 2-person household would need ~9 double rolls, or ~5 mega rolls. A 4-person household would need ~17 double rolls, or~ 9 mega rolls to last approximately 2 weeks.”
The company also recognizes consumers are snapping up its toilet paper.
“For our retail business, we have seen a significant increase in orders beginning last week. These increases have been as high as two times our normal demand,” it said in a statement last week to NBC News. “Our manufacturing operations which produce toilet paper (for both consumer and B2B) are currently operating normally and we are doing our best to meet consumer demand.”
There doesn’t appear to be any threat of a shortage on the horizon, either.
“Inventory levels across our system remain healthy and we are working hard to maximize the number of deliveries we can load and ship out of our facilities.”
Another toilet paper manufacturer, Kimberly-Clark, which makes Scott and Cottonelle, also says it is doing what it can to continue to provide its product to consumers.
“Kimberly-Clark is working closely with our retail partners and customers to understand their current needs, and we have plans in place to address the increased demand for our products,” it said in a statement to NBC News. “Some of these steps include accelerating production and reallocating inventory to help meet customer needs.”
“We want to assure consumers that we are doing our best to ensure a steady supply of product to stores, and will continue to make adjustments to our plans as necessary,” it added.
The company also said it is ensuring that its own employees don’t get sick.
“In addition, the health and safety of our people is our top priority, and we have taken extra steps to keep our people and their families safe and healthy.”
“These plans also help ensure the continued supply of essential products,” it said.
CORRECTION (Aug. 6, 2020, 12:47 p.m.): An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that toilet paper use increases 140% when staying at home 24/7. According to a spokesperson for Georgia-Pacific, staying home 24/7 results in a 40% increase in toilet paper use.