18 - 2008

Update on TP packaging

Last week, I received a thought-provoking comment on my January post about recycled toilet paper. Anon wrote:

Um, I hope you know you are not doing any favors buying single rolls; the additional plastic packaging is just discarded by the store. You’d be better off buying it by the pack and saving money.

I replied, in part, regarding the money-saving perspective:

If I bought multipacks at the price listed there from Amazon, I would save 8.25 cents per roll, or $2.97 per year (and have to store toilet paper for 18 months at my household’s current rate of consumption) … but then I know we’d be looking at additional packaging (to me; the case might be just the same) as well as shipping, which takes up extra fuel vs. shipping one case to my local store.

But I just double-checked, and the point is moot, because the price at Amazon has gone up since July to $47.99, or $1 a roll — a cent more than at my local store and a 10 percent increase from July. So I can buy it locally (supporting a family-owned natural foods chain) and save money too.

However, the comment got me thinking, and so I inquired with Seventh Generation. I asked whether, indeed, they wrap the paper-wrapped packages in plastic before shipping. I could imagine that perhaps the entire case of paper would be in a plastic bag to prevent water damage, although I also surmised that they might take that gamble and just box up the paper-wrapped rolls.

Customer service wrote to me:

The single rolls are shipped in boxes with no plastic – they are wrapped in the paper instead, so at least the paper can be recycled. All of our other sizes are wrapped in plastic though, because they do not fare well through shipping and handling wrapped in paper.

We are in the process now of looking for ways to upgrade all of our packaging, including paper, so we will see what we come up with later this year!

Sounds like they are up to something interesting … and in Seventh Generation’s case, hopefully we can count on “upgrade” meaning something other than “wrap in sturdier, custom-shaped, less-recyclable plastic to protect our items from an eventuality.”

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