Toilet Paper Usage Analysis

Wednesday, May 9, 2007 at 1:00pm By

Toilet paper rolls

Often, while I’m doing things around the apartment, I’ll leave the TV on to be used as a procrastination tool.  On one such occasion, I think the History channel was showing how paper is made (more interesting than it sounds) and I caught an interesting fact as it went to commercial.  It said that on average, American’s use over 20,000 sheets of toilet paper per year.

In one year, I used:
49 rolls
or
49,000 sheets
of toilet paper
which is a total of
2.8 miles
or
5,644.8 sq. ft.

and cost about
$52.43

First of all, I generally use Scott 1000 because they are easily found at all of the supermarkets, bodegas, delis, and newspaper stands that I may frequent, and consistency is more important to my butt than just softness.  Considering that each roll has 1000 sheets, that works out to about 20 rolls per year.  That means that on average, a roll should last about 18 days.  For a roll to last 18 days, I could use up to a maximum of 55 sheets per day, which sounded quite reasonable to me.  Maybe I am an average user, but as I sat there crunching the numbers, 20 rolls per year just sounded a little too light to me.

It was these sort of numbers that made me question how much toilet paper I actually use, and it was this curiosity that led me to start keeping track of how much I actually do use.  I went into this WOMBAT project with the notion that I was not going to keep track of actual sheet-by-sheet data because that would be way too much work.  So, in keeping with my “be as lazy as possible” attitude, I will just keep track of when I start a new roll and when it ends.  This will give me a nice average on how long a roll lasts, and will give me the total number of sheets used per year.

Of course, there are going to be problems with this count.  The most obvious is that I use toilet paper in places other than my apartment.  In an emergency, I will “drop a deuce” at work, although I prefer not to, and I don’t spend every night in my apartment due to vacations, business trips, “away games”, etc.  In addition, I may not be the only person that uses toilet paper in my apartment.  I’m not going to try and be as accurate as possible, but I may make a note of extenuating circumstances related to a roll. In addition, I use toilet paper for things other than it’s intended purpose….in case I run out of tissues, I use toilet paper on my nose…I use it to clean my glasses…I use it to clean up the sink after shaving…as napkins when I don’t feel like walking the extra 20 feet to the kitchen…etc.

This project officially started on April 11th, 2007, with toilet paper roll #1. It should last through April 11th, 2008 or until the roll in use on that day is used up.

(Sheryl Crow’s idea that a person can get away with using only one square per trip is ridiculous!)

Update

Sept. 13, 2007 — It’s been five months, and I’ve hit the 20th roll—way ahead of the average.

Analysis Over

April 14, 2008 — The analysis is over.  It’s been one year and four days, and in that time, I’ve used 49 rolls of toilet paper bathroom tissue, or 49,000 sheets, at an approximate cost of $52.43. You can see the details below, but it’s clear that I use a lot more than the national average.

There were six rolls that lasted 10 days or longer, and I tried to analyze why those rolls lasted well over the average, but I couldn’t really pin it down.  There was a five-day trip taken during the 15-day roll in July/Aug., but that still means that that roll lasted 10 days while I was around.

One thing that I noticed is that while at other venues that employed a more luxurious bathroom tissue, I used much less than I normally would if I were in my apartment.  Not even half as much.  So, it is quite likely, if I were to switch to a different bathroom tissue, that I would be able to hit the 20,000 sheets per year average.  This is not an analysis that I’m planning to make.

I’m not sure that any true meaning can be taken from this WOMBAT, but it was interesting to quantify my personal usage.

Summary

  • There were 49 rolls between Apr 11, 2007 and Apr 14, 2008.
  • The average length of time a roll lasted was 7.4 days, which was an average of 135.4 sheets per day, at an average cost of $0.14 per day. 1
  • The longest amount of time a roll lasted was 15 days by roll number 15 between Jul 28, 2007 and Aug 12, 2007.
  • The shortest amount of time a roll lasted was 3 days by roll number 17 between Aug 20, 2007 and Aug 23, 2007.
  • Since each roll is about 302 feet long and 115.2 square feet, I used a total of about 2.80 miles or 5,644.80 square feet of toilet paper.

Individual Sample Data

Roll #
Start Date
End Date
Days
Lasted
Avg. Sheets per Day
Avg. Cost per Day ($)
1
Apr 11, 2007
Apr 16, 2007
5
200.0
0.21
2
Apr 16, 2007
Apr 26, 2007
10
100.0
0.11
3
Apr 26, 2007
May 2, 2007
6
166.7
0.18
4
May 2, 2007
May 8, 2007
6
166.7
0.18
5
May 8, 2007
May 14, 2007
6
166.7
0.18
6
May 14, 2007
May 22, 2007
8
125.0
0.13
7
May 22, 2007
May 31, 2007
9
111.1
0.12
8
May 31, 2007
Jun 7, 2007
7
142.9
0.15
9
Jun 7, 2007
Jun 21, 2007
14
71.4
0.08
10
Jun 21, 2007
Jun 28, 2007
7
142.9
0.15
11
Jun 28, 2007
Jul 6, 2007
8
125.0
0.13
12
Jul 8, 2007
Jul 14, 2007
6
166.7
0.18
13
Jul 15, 2007
Jul 22, 2007
7
142.9
0.15
14
Jul 22, 2007
Jul 28, 2007
6
166.7
0.18
15
Jul 28, 2007
Aug 12, 2007
15
66.7
0.07
16
Aug 13, 2007
Aug 20, 2007
7
142.9
0.15
17
Aug 20, 2007
Aug 23, 2007
3
333.3
0.36
18
Aug 23, 2007
Aug 29, 2007
6
166.7
0.18
19
Aug 29, 2007
Sep 5, 2007
7
142.9
0.15
20
Sep 6, 2007
Sep 12, 2007
6
166.7
0.18
21
Sep 13, 2007
Sep 21, 2007
8
125.0
0.13
22
Sep 21, 2007
Sep 28, 2007
7
142.9
0.15
23
Sep 28, 2007
Oct 8, 2007
10
100.0
0.11
24
Oct 8, 2007
Oct 13, 2007
5
200.0
0.21
25
Oct 14, 2007
Oct 20, 2007
6
166.7
0.18
26
Oct 20, 2007
Oct 26, 2007
6
166.7
0.18
27
Oct 26, 2007
Nov 3, 2007
8
125.0
0.13
28
Nov 3, 2007
Nov 9, 2007
6
166.7
0.18
29
Nov 9, 2007
Nov 16, 2007
7
142.9
0.15
30
Nov 16, 2007
Nov 23, 2007
7
142.9
0.15
31
Nov 23, 2007
Nov 29, 2007
6
166.7
0.18
32
Nov 29, 2007
Dec 3, 2007
4
250.0
0.27
33
Dec 3, 2007
Dec 10, 2007
7
142.9
0.15
34
Dec 10, 2007
Dec 19, 2007
9
111.1
0.12
35
Dec 19, 2007
Dec 24, 2007
5
200.0
0.21
36
Dec 24, 2007
Dec 29, 2007
5
200.0
0.21
37
Dec 29, 2007
Jan 6, 2008
8
125.0
0.13
38
Jan 6, 2008
Jan 13, 2008
7
142.9
0.15
39
Jan 13, 2008
Jan 20, 2008
7
142.9
0.15
40
Jan 20, 2008
Jan 28, 2008
8
125.0
0.13
41
Jan 28, 2008
Feb 6, 2008
9
111.1
0.12
42
Feb 6, 2008
Feb 13, 2008
7
142.9
0.15
43
Feb 13, 2008
Feb 22, 2008
9
111.1
0.12
44
Feb 22, 2008
Mar 4, 2008
11
90.9
0.10
45
Mar 4, 2008
Mar 11, 2008
7
142.9
0.15
46
Mar 11, 2008
Mar 17, 2008
6
166.7
0.18
47
Mar 17, 2008
Mar 25, 2008
8
125.0
0.13
48
Mar 25, 2008
Apr 1, 2008
7
142.9
0.15
49
Apr 1, 2008
Apr 14, 2008
13
76.9
0.08

  1. Based on an average cost of $1.07 per roll.

69 comments on ‘Toilet Paper Usage Analysis’

  1. SClark says:

    I am doing a carbon footprint and ecological footprint on how much toilet paper and average person uses, now, i understand that i will have to use comparisons and state the diet and healthy-ness of the person. Ideally, a healthy person who follows canadas food guise, and female versus male. Any pointers? some major manufacture companies?

  2. Mike says:

    The next logical study would be the "efficiency of wiping", Why do you use so much toilet paper?
    Maybe its IBS?

  3. poor-n-confused says:

    speaking of bidets… I have never had the pleasure, but even comparing to taking a shower, I don't just stand there with running water. I use soap and a loofa or wash rag or sponge to scrub my body, including my bum. How does a bidet clean your bum with just a splash of running water? Doesn't it need to be wiped or rubbed clean along with the water?

  4. John Fischer says:

    I think you might be my new hero. On an unrelated note I found this while trying to set up a comprehensive household budget.

  5. Diogenes says:

    But Sheryl Crow is right, you *can* wipe effectively with just one sheet of TP. We were taught that skill in the Army and you can learn it right here —

    http://www.thespeciousreport.com/2007/v704b_one_s

    Remember, if it saves just one tree . . . .

    Oh, and don't forget the fingernail!

  6. Nisha que says:

    I doing research about this it was
    Good

  7. Shaniqua says:

    LOL this is so weird!!! ;D Who records how much TOILET PAPER they use??? O.o

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