Feature

Recycled toilet paper getting on a roll

G-Online

Recycled toilet paper is on a roll. It's soft, durable and kind to your hip pocket.

toilet paper

Credit: iStockphoto

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Back in 1956 a well-known television commercial declared, "What's the gentlest tissue in the bathroom you can issue? Why, it's Sorbent." In 1988 the same jingle returned as part of the "All around Australia" campaign.

The infamous 1991 "Thank goodness for Sorbent" advertisements featured a young Matthew Krock, the pudgy kid of Hey Dad fame. Later campaigns focused heavily on product attributes, such as the 1997 "Pure, soft luxury", 2004 "Extra thick" and 2008 "Why rough it?" series.

And along the way, in a stroke of marketing genius, we watched that bevy of adorable Labrador puppies romp around in endless rolls of soft, luxurious toilet paper. That soft puppy coat is intrinsically linked to top-quality toilet paper.

A flushing enigma

On the road to sustainability it seems we've left our furry friends behind. According to consumer association Choice, only five percent of the toilet paper we flush away in Australia is made from recycled paper. The rest is virgin fibre from plantation or native-forest trees.

It's an interesting conundrum. We make use of council recycling programs and happily put our old newspapers and cardboard packaging into household recycling bins, but we continue to purchase toilet paper made from virgin materials. So if we give it out why can't we take it back?

Maybe we're suffering a collective hangover from the power of the aforementioned advertising campaigns. Rather than acting as a buyer incentive, labelling toilet paper as recycled may in fact act as a disincentive. Harking back to a time of left wing greenie ideals, many of us assume recycled toilet paper is rough and not at all tough.

The good news is the modern day stuff is on a roll (pardon the pun), with an increasing number of new products and brands appearing on supermarket shelves. It's soft, durable and, while it may not have pictures of teddy bears or smell like spring breeze, it's easy on the eye and nose.

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