|Photo courtesy of Brandon Blinkenberg|
The other significant characteristic of toilet paper is its packaging. The roll is easy to produce, is compact, and allows the product to be dispensed using simple and inexpensive appliances. Although the cardboard tube at the center of every roll creates significant waste, it may soon be eliminated, as Kimberly-Clark has devised a way to create toilet paper rolls without it. (See, for example, the USA Today story here.) As I mentioned earlier, however, what is dispensed is fundamentally the wrong shape.
I am not an inventor or an industrial designer, so I do not have an alternative to propose as a replacement for the standard toilet paper roll. Perhaps the solution to the personal hygiene problem needs to be completely rethought. Perhaps toilet paper should be packaged in a different fashion. Perhaps the dispensing appliance could be altered.
Here is one possibility: Perforate the paper into slightly longer segments, say, 8 inches. Devise a dispenser that folds these segments over one another. For example, one might begin with 2-ply paper and a dispenser that dispenses three folded segments, thus yielding a kind of 6-ply, 8-inch long “pad.” The number of segments in a pad could even be adjustable.
Any better ideas, anyone?