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Taiwan Rushes For Toilet Paper

Taipei, Taiwan —(Map)

People in Taiwan have been rushing to buy all the toilet paper they can. They are afraid that the prices will go up. They are also afraid that the island nation of Taiwan will run out of toilet paper. Taiwan’s premier, William Lai, has asked people to be calm. “We ask the public not to panic and not to rush to buy,” he said.

A supermarket in Taiwan
A supermarket in Taiwan
(Source: 龍本 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.)

Companies that make toilet paper told stores that they were going to raise prices. Some people said the prices would go up by 10 to 30 per cent. Customers (people who buy things) were worried and wanted to buy as much toilet paper as they could while the prices were still cheap. As more people bought toilet paper, other people joined in because they were worried that stores would run out.

Many stores actually did run out of toilet paper. But the government has told people not to worry. They say there will be enough toilet paper. They also told stores that they are watching the prices. They don’t want the stores to try and charge extra money just because people are scared.

Empty store shelves in Japan.
With the toilet paper gone, many store shelves were empty.
They might look like these empty store shelves in Japan.
(Source: Yuichiro Haga (2011.03.22 東日本大震災@トモズ 仙台サンモール一番町店), via Wikimedia Commons.)

Toilet paper, like most paper, is made from wood. The government in Taiwan says that events in other parts of the world are part of the problem. They say there is less wood for sale because of forest fires in Canada, for example. Taiwan does not have enough forests to make its own wood. Since Taiwan is an island, things that are not made in Taiwan have to be sent there on ships or airplanes.

Roll of toilet paper
Roll of toilet paper
(Source: Brandon Blinkenberg, via Wikimedia Commons.)

The problem is worse because Taiwan does not use much recycled paper in their toilet paper. In many other countries, much of the toilet paper is made from recycled paper. For example, in the US, over half of the toilet paper sold is from recycled paper. But in Taiwan only 5 percent comes from recycled paper.


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