brown paper towels

Brown Paper Is No Longer Only Post Consumer

While browsing the headlines to day, I saw this article from the Wall Street Journal on the brown paper trend to promote green cleaning. It reminded me of a humorous encounter I had while selling paper products early in my career.

Years ago, when I first made the switch to selling cleaning supplies from managing cleaning operations, I was working the showroom for a cleaning supply distributor. A very nice lady came in and was asking about paper products for her church. She explained that the church didn’t really have a paper program in place and that they had been relying on members to supply their toilet tissue and towels. I guess this system had faltered, leaving them out of supplies during a busy Sunday service.

She was asking about dispensers and the different types of paper, their quality and prices. I explained the difference between folded and roll towels, bleached and kraft or brown paper towels and that the brown paper was typically the less expensive choice. Then we moved on to the bath tissue where I explained two-ply and single ply, embossed and that there were several grades of each.

Being a good student and watching out for the church’s budget she promptly asked, “Does it come in brown?” To which I replied without missing a beat, “Only post consumer.”

Are Brown Paper Towels Cheaper?

In most cases, brown paper towels are going to be less expensive. This is because white paper towels have to go through a bleaching process. The brown paper towels do not. By eliminating this processing step during the manufacturing, the cost stays lower.

Are Brown Paper Towels Less Absorbent?

Not usually. It really depends on the quality of paper more than the color of the paper towel. The bleaching process for white paper towels can make them feel a little softer, but to get the really soft paper towels, you will need to get a higher quality of paper. These higher quality paper towels are almost always more expensive so in order to justify the cost, they will typically be white rather than brown.

What do you think? Are paper towels better than restroom hand dryers?

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