Dave Ripper is one of many to discover how prominent tissue is only when asked, as here, to recall their encounters with the vital aid to living. He lives in the south of England and is especially pleased to have a wet wipe to beat the ‘hot desking’ hygiene problem.

I’ve not given this topic much thought before now. But thinking back over the past couple of days these types of products do pop up all the time. Loo roll, paper napkins, antiseptic wipes and kitchen roll all are the unsung heroes of any daily routine.

“However, my general consumption of paper napkins isn’t entirely through choice – I’ll explain. I work in an office in London, and like most workers in the area for lunch tend to run around the corner to the nearest snack shack, Pret-a-Manger, fast food outlet, etc, and buy my food and take it back to my desk to eat.

“ When you get back to the office to tuck in amongst the bag of food there is a handful of several napkins put there by the cafe, when perhaps only one would suffice. I generally feel like this is a waste and bad for the environment but don’t necessarily have much of an option to say ‘only one napkin will do’ before they present me with my food and move on to the next customer

“ For a while I was keeping any extras to one side for emergencies (and to appease my green, environmental mindedness), but had to give up when we moved to a hot desking environment.

“ Hot desking leads to new concerns, and this is where the wet wipes come in useful. As you aren’t guaranteed the same desk from day-to-day, having to change desks also means you have  to share space with your colleagues, some of whom may not have the highest of hygiene standards! It’s always good in the
morning to wipe down the desk and phone with a wet wipe in order to get the peace-of-mind that your workspace for the day has been cleansed.

“ I’m hardly picky about what I buy when it comes to buying tissue products – in my eyes a 2-ply tissue in a store brand’s name is as good as a 2-ply tissue in a market leader’s name. And the addition of puppies on the toilet paper isn’t a game changer! That said, I can’t say my girlfriend has the same opinion though – several times I’ve been told I’ve made a bad choice in toilet roll when I’ve been left to do the weekly supermarket shop myself. With other items, the end product is a less contentious choice and normally decided by price – but toilet roll seems to go against this trend.

“ I’m aware of being environmentally friendly when I’m given paper napkins I didn’t want, but when it comes to tissue products that I purchase and will use I won’t scan the
packaging to see if they come from either recycled paper or other sustainable sources. Maybe I’m naive that in the 21st Century I’d expect most tissue products on the shelves of our major supermarkets to come from either sustainable sources or recycled paper and I wouldn’t need to check. There is also the off-putting perceptions of recycled toilet roll – images of those recycled green paper towels used in school classroom that it’s unabsorbing, stiff and also uncomfortably rough. Who would want to put their bodies through that punishment? It’s not a threshold I’ve necessarily been brave enough to cross! Sometimes comfort wins over conscience.

“ Tissue products in the UK are very common-place and so much business-as-usual you could argue they are taken for granted. As for cultural usage, there is an interesting undertone of this at my workplace that most colleagues perhaps haven’t noticed. I work in an office for a large global company and we have around 10 floors of the same layout. The toilets are outside in the atrium where it can get quite chilly in the winter months and their toilet paper is thin, single sheets from a dispenser. There is, however, only one floor which breaks the mould – luckily I get to sit on this floor!

“ On this unique floor sit our Global Executives [CEOs, CFOs, CCOs etc]; not only are this floor’s toilets inside in the heated section of the building (ie. not in the atrium) but their overall quality is better. These toilets are treated to proper 3-ply toilet paper, the finest hand soaps and the softest disposable hand towels. This is a definitely conscience decision and perhaps identifies that in the senior leadership and associated lifestyles you come to expect luxury products, even the most luxurious tissue products?

“ When I’ve travelled, Cuba has been an interesting experience; everyday items there are clearly limited and in less touristy areas people would come begging to you for soap, biros and also toilet paper. What was available in Cuba can only be described as ‘doing the job,’ but nothing luxury about it. A trip to Dubai also provided an eye opening experience when I visited a toilet cubicle to instantly query where the toilet paper was, not understanding the role of the bidet shower out there. Safe to say I wasn’t that brave.”