Taiwan has the runs on toilet paper as prices rise.
Have the runs? Good luck finding toilet paper, because there has been a run on all the stores in Taiwan, clearing the shelves, evidently the result of disruption in Brazil and forest fires in Canada that have driven up the price of short fiber pulp, the stuff that is used to make quality toilet paper, not that terrible stuff that Ruth uses. According to NewsAsia, price increases are coming.
Companies in the industry confirmed last Friday that the price hikes - as high as 30 percent - would take place in mid-March. Stocks at local businesses, ranging from supermarkets to hypermarkets, were quickly depleted and those who were unable to buy the products at physical stores quickly took to online shopping platforms, where they reportedly ordered more than five million packs. Video of people stuffing their cars with boxes of toilet paper has also emerged.
According to the New York Times, the Taiwanese like soft paper from virgin fiber, and only five percent of their TP is made from recycled paper, compared to more than half in the USA or Europe. So when the price of fiber goes up 30 percent, they really feel it on their tushies.
According to Taiwan News, everything made from paper is going up in price.
Wang Sheng-yang (王升陽), vice president of Forestry Department of National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) and vice president of Agricultural Material Institute, told UDN that the price of toilet paper is just the beginning and it will soon be followed by increases for the price of wet wipes, craft paper, copy paper, and thermal paper. Wang said that as the price of wood pulp goes up, the price for furniture and interior wooden decorations will also go up.
Wang thinks that the solution is to grow more wood in Taiwan and recycle more.
Wang says that he advocates the full use of renewable forest resources, but this does not mean he does not love trees. Wang says he loves forests and trees like most conservationists, but from a "carbon footprint" point of view, the transport of one cubic meter of wood from North America to Taiwan will generate 50 kilograms of carbon emissions.
Of course, TreeHugger has a better solution to reduce your TP carbon footprint and your need for the stuff: get a bidet and put it in your Case Study House living room. Then you hardly need any TP at all; none if you have a dryer built into it. I do, and haven't used toilet paper at home for years.