Consumers warned of loo roll rip-off

2012-09-08 00:00

IN penny-pinching times, splashing out on toilet paper may be costing you more than you realise.

The bargain you think you’re getting could leave you feeling potty when you realise you were fooled by a lower sheet-count and have literally flushed your savings down the can.

The loo roll market is set for a whole new range of products in the months ahead, changing the pricing options available to consumers.

This follows the re-regulation of the toilet paper manufacturing industry, moving away from the bog-standard bog-rolls that were previously available.

Everyone wants to feel a sense of luxury, and South African consumers are increasingly treating themselves to the more luxurious two-ply variety of toilet paper.

Industry figures have urged the public to check the packaging carefully to ensure they do not buy smaller rolls at cheaper prices in the belief that they are actually buying bigger rolls.

Khaliq Nabeebuccas, chairperson of the South African Tissue Manufacturers’ Association (Satma) told Weekend Witness that only South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe regulate the toilet paper industry in this way.

The specifications:

Prior to the changes, manufacturers could only make 350-sheet two-ply toilet paper and 500-sheet one-ply toilet paper.

However, manufacturers are now able to produce one-ply in 300- and 500 sheet-variants, as well as multiples of 100 sheets per roll above 500 sheets.

The legal two-ply options are 200- and 350-sheet variants, as well as multiples of 100 sheets per roll above 350 sheets.

The regulators:

Satma is an industry body whose members abide by a code of conduct with the aim of self-regulation.

While it also conducts internal audits, Nabeebuccas said, the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) monitors compliance. The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) is the custodian of the new standard.

The background:

Nabeebuccas said unscrupulous manufacturers were increasingly making toilet paper rolls with lower sheet counts, thereby taking consumers for a ride.

“Non-compliance and malpractice were rife. The industry had a lot of new entrants. Some manufacturers made rolls marked 500 sheets [one-ply], but these were of a lower sheet count.

“It was hurting the industry and causing financial difficulties for Satma members … but we did not want to create an environment where they stop trading because we prosecute them.”

Satma requested re-regulation as a middle ground, thereby allowing manufacturers to innovate and offer consumers different options in terms of sheet-count.

The effect:

The industry believes that re-regulation will ensure greater accessibility to toilet paper for poor consumers.

Nabeebuccas said consumers now had more choice and value and that independent manufacturers had been given a better chance of survival.

Kimberly-Clark, the manufacturers of Baby Soft®, said in a statement that one of the benefits of the change was that it made two-ply toilet paper affordable to consumers who previously could not afford the luxury option.

ONE way of ensuring that you buy the right products is to read the labelling and specifications on the packaging carefully. Consumers should also look out for the Satma member logo, as this provides greater reassurance and peace of mind.

Nabeebuccas said Satma planned to launch a public relations campaign to educate consumers about the recent changes.

One-ply rolls can now be made in the following variants: 300 sheets, 500 sheets and multiples of 100 sheets per roll above 500 sheets. Two-ply rolls can have 200 sheets, 350 sheets and multiples of 100 sheets per roll above 350 sheets. Three-ply rolls will have 200 sheets and multiples of 10 sheets per roll above 200 sheets.

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