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Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

The New Quest For Soft Toilet Paper

April 21, 2010

A growing shortage of high-quality paper for recycling into new paper products threatens to thwart consumers’ preferences for oh-so-soft toilet paper, according to an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS’ weekly newsmagazine.

In the cover story, C&EN Senior Editor Melody Voith notes that the decline of print newspapers and magazines and the growth in electronic communications have combined to launch recycled paper manufacturers on a real-world paper chase. Companies are scrambling to find ample supplies of good white office paper, newsprint, and other traditional recyclable papers.

Voith explains how the recycled office paper used to make toilet paper itself contains increasing amounts of recycled paper. That decreases its usefulness for making high-quality personal paper that is soft enough to satisfy picky consumers. Chemists are responding to the paper crunch by searching for new coatings, resins, and other additives to improve the softness, strength, and performance of today’s recycled paper.

Image Caption: At a pilot facility, an Ashland worker evaluates the effect of a new product on finished paper. Credit: Ashland

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