Hazel Gage

Hazel Gage is a Manchester, UK-based Senior Designer at Contrast Creative.

Thinking about what tissue and towel products we actually use in our house, and – it’s a lot of different types! Kitchen towels and toilet rolls are an obvious shopping trolley essentials and my fella is also partial to wet wipe type products such as antibacterial wipes and bathroom wipes. We, like everyone else in the UK, got a dog recently and unfortunately he has a tendency to tell us how much he’s missed us at night by leaving us a puddle. No, not a puddle, a lake. He’s a retired greyhound and boy does he let us know! We have XL puppy pads placed strategically around the room he sleeps in for those random nights he decides he needs to go, but even with these we still get through a lot of kitchen roll.

I have individual packs of soft tissues (those fancy Kleenex aleo vera ones) in pretty much every room and every bag as I have a dust allergy which seems to randomly rear its head. We’re renovating a 1930s semi-detached house, so also have rolls of the blue paper dotted around the place for cleaning up. I also have a pack of lint free tissues which I use for my gel nails, and sometimes for toner instead of cotton wool pads if they’re nearby.

With toilet paper and kitchen towels I like to think I’m quite savvy and want the best quality for the best price. While it’s a nice surprise when someone has a puppy embossed roll in their loo, I look for the number of sheets per roll and the price per roll rather than the brand. I’ve found that often the supermarket own brand with a high ply works out best for quality and budget. I once bought a well-known brand and was disappointed to see the actual cardboard roll was pretty big, meaning we were getting less and paying more.

I’ve been an online grocery shopper for several years now. It’s so beneficial to be able to adjust the order up until the night before – so if I did forget to add toilet paper, or we are having people over, I can pop it in the basket. I am being dragged back to in-person shopping though as we’ve become a little too comfortable with getting everything we want and paying over our allocated grocery budget in the past few months.

One thing we have noticed after the outbreak of the pandemic is that we have a lot more toilet roll on hand. If there’s an offer on a nine pack I have occasionally been tempted. But generally, I just ensure we’re never on our last roll as I would do in the “before” times.

We do generally bulk buy some items, mostly for our dog as we get through a lot of items quickly (we’re on our second pack of 100x XL puppy pads!) If my fella had his way we would bulk buy everything, but we just don’t have the room to store vast amounts of it all. I think having enough of something to last us an extra week is enough.

I’m keen to buy from a brand which is environmentally-friendly and not just because they’re doing it for commercialism reasons. I’ve seen lots on social media about ‘Who Gives a Crap’ toilet paper but I’m not sold on it just yet, maybe because it’s very Instagrammable and yet another subscription where I would have to sign up to. It’s easier for me to just put a pack of four in my basket.

Generally there is a huge rise in buying from independent sources and being environmentally-minded within groups who work in marketing, design and advertising. There was a huge thing about greenwashing previously and I’d like to think consumers aren’t as naïve to believe that just because something has a fancy green logo on means it is good for the planet.

I think millennials and the below generations are more open to new brands doing things differently, rather than the status quo of mass commercialism due to how we grew up and how we saw our parents shopping. My fella and I buy most things online – I only go out shopping if I want to browse, maybe with a friend.

I think if an online system were to be designed which consolidated multiple subscription services into one delivery that would be a winner for people and planet in the interim.