Duke to Wipe Out One-Ply Paper

Two-ply is now the toilet paper of choice for the university

Crews are installing new toilet and paper towel dispensers in academic buildings across campus. Photo courtesy of Albert Scott.

With help from Facilities Management, some university buildings are rolling out a new bathroom mainstay.

Housekeeping staff recently began outfitting West Campus academic buildings with two-ply toilet paper, replacing one-ply rolls as they run out. The number one reason for the change? Comfort. Albert Scott, director of grounds, housekeeping, sanitation and recycling services, also noted important benefits of standardization across campus, more efficient dispensers and cost effectiveness.

"Two-ply is a better quality, and Duke students and employees deserve better quality," he said. "It's softer and with a better texture."

As one-ply stock runs out, housekeepers are bringing in cases of new, two-ply rolls. So far, Perkins Library, along with the Languages, Social Sciences, Sociology-Psychology and Old Chemistry buildings, are flush with the newest toilet paper. Other academic buildings across East and West Campus will soon be stocked. Medical Center buildings aren't managed by Facilities Management, so they haven't received the new toilet paper.

Scott said that in addition to being a better quality, purchasing two-ply paper doesn't hurt the bottom line. One-ply rolls had 800 feet of paper, while the new two-ply rolls have about 1,000 feet and cost less than .001 cents more per foot. The movement to use two-ply will be more cost effective and provide a better quality paper for Duke community members, Scott said.

"Typically, people will end up using more tissue with one-ply than two-ply," Scott said. "This change will help save toilet paper."

Sustainable savings will also come from a change in paper towels. As housekeepers are replacing toilet paper, bathrooms with multi-fold paper towel dispensers will be fitted with hands-free dispensers instead.

Scott said the new paper towels and dispensers, which require a manual pull of the roll without touching, could reduce the paper use in academic facilities by 20 to 30 percent compared to current multi-fold towels and dispensers. The difference, Scott said, is students and employees won't be tempted to simply grab a handful of multi-fold paper towels and throw unused pieces in the trash.