One-ply toilet paper rubs students the wrong way

The quality of campus toilet paper is chaffing some parts of the student body.

“The toilet paper is so thin, it rips and it’s frustrating as you attempt to tear it off the dispenser,” said Michael Garofalo, junior from Libertyville, Ill. “I would never TP a house with this stuff.”

Kansas leads universities across the state in toilet paper usage, consuming more than 100,000 rolls of the white stuff each year.

Steve Green, who is in charge of ordering toilet paper for Kansas said KU Facilities and Operations plunges $61,804 into purchasing toilet paper every year. The paper supplied is single ply and 100 percent recycled. Each student flushes away approximately three rolls of toilet paper at a cost of $2.06 every year.

“I think at the very least it could be two-ply,” said Garofalo.

Green pointed to a few reasons for sticking to the current one-ply paper.

“Alternative two-ply products would likely cost more, require new dispensers and may not supply enough paper to last between restroom cleanings in the larger KU classroom buildings,” said Green.

However, other universities use a variety of paper types to get the job done. Kansas State buys a combination of single and double ply material, resulting in 82,440 rolls at a cost of $71,464.80, which translates into 3.55 rolls at a cost of $3 per student.

“Seven years ago, we had better paper, but paper products were the first thing to be cut,” said Kris Fulkerson, procurement officer at Kansas State.

Nevertheless, Pittsburg State has recently adopted a new kind of paper. For the past two years, Pitt State students have relieved themselves with the assistance of coreless paper rolls that are made from environmentally friendly recycled fiber.

“We went to it because of the environmental issue,” said Tonya Pentola, store room supervisor for Pittsburg State. “We have had no complaints and it’s comfortable to use. We are satisfied with the change.”

The new type runs at a higher price. Each year, Pittsburg State handles 12,600 rolls at a cost of $22,6943, which unravels to 1.8 rolls per student and a cost of $3.24 per student. Pitt State also had to retrofit its building with new dispensers to handle the new material.

After comparing the quality of toilet paper samples from both University of Kansas and Pittsburg State, Garofalo said he preferred Pitt State’s new toilet paper.

“I think the answer is clear. The toilet paper from Pitt State is more durable and I would pay a dollar extra to have this type of toilet paper,” he said. “I use a lot of toilet paper when I’m in there.”

Conor Taft, junior from Naperville, Ill., said he too would pay an extra dollar in student fees for improved paper.

“For as many trips to the bathroom I take throughout the day, it would be a worthy investment,” Taft said.

As far as bathroom etiquette is concerned, Garofalo had a few pieces of advice.

“It’s important to fold the toilet paper for conservation efforts and it’s more efficient for yourself. That’s just good manners,” he said. “Also, remember to courtesy flush.”

— Edited by Adam Strunk

Marshall Schmidt is a graduate student majoring in biomedical engineering from Mount Hope. Read more from .

  • Updated Nov. 8, 2011 at 3:55 am