The Great Toilet Paper Conspiracy

an absurd look at life

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A few months ago, I noticed a weird thing – the hollow center core of a toilet paper tube seemed to be wider than it used to be.

I figured I was wrong. “Trust the toilet paper companies,” I thought. “Going to the bathroom is kind of sacred. They wouldn’t mess with that.” Besides, if the core was bigger, why didn’t the toilet paper roll look bigger? 

I decided this was a subject that needed more research. We have the internet now. Knowledge is limitless.

My research showed that, prior to 1999, an average roll of one-ply (layer) toilet paper stretched one thousand sheets long. Two-ply was 500 sheets long. Assume that today an average roll of one-ply toilet paper is still one thousand sheets long. Two-play is 500 sheets long.

In the olden days (prior to 1999) an average single sheet of toilet paper was 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches. That’s 20.25 square inches per sheet. Multiply that by 1000 sheets and you get 20,250 square inches of paper in each roll.

I didn’t need the internet to see the current size of a toilet paper sheet. I could measure that on my own.

One sheet in my roll of toilet paper was four inches wide and 3.7 inches long. That’s 14.8 square inches per sheet. Multiply that by 1000 sheets and that’s 14,800 square inches of paper in each toilet paper roll.

That’s only two-thirds of a roll of toilet paper in the “olden days” (twenty years ago).

Measure your own toilet paper.

No wonder tubes have a larger diameter. They have to make up for the fact that toilet paper rolls have less paper than before. With a larger tube, they look like they’re the same size.

This assumes that today, a one-ply roll of toilet paper is still 1000 sheets and two-ply is still 500 sheets.

A single roll of two-ply double roll Charmin Ultra bathroom tissue has only 142 sheets.

Some years ago toilet paper companies started selling “double rolls.”  Then mega-rolls. Could that have begun when the size of a toilet paper sheet began to shrink?

I decided I must be right.  The hollow core is larger than it was before.

The truth is, we don’t even need cores in our toilet paper.  Institutions have “coreless” rolls of toilet paper.  If that coreless roll was made available for the everyday public we would need a new center piece for our toilet roll dispensers.

Maybe the toilet paper companies could sell a coreless toilet paper roll dispenser and make even more money?

© copyright 2021 by Terry Light