ATLANTA - "Can you spare a square?" might soon be a less-common query in restrooms.
Kimberly-Clark Corp. is eliminating the cardboard core of two of its commercial toilet-tissue brands to double the number of sheets per roll, hoping to decrease the public bathroom bane - running out of paper.
The company's new "coreless" tissue paper is being launched nationally this month after successful tests in nine cities. The two new brands, Kleenex Cottonelle Coreless and Scott Coreless - which pack up to 1,000 sheets by removing the middle - were spurred by building and property managers looking for ways to reduce run-out and lower labor costs.
Running out of toilet paper reflects poorly on a business, "especially with high-end office buildings," said Tracy Mark, tissue product manager at the company's commercial unit, based in suburban Atlanta. "They want to maintain that high-image premium.
"It's one of the biggest complaints they get and they spend a lot of money making sure they have maintenance people refilling it."
Kimberly-Clark's Beech Island tissue plant near Augusta produces consumer-grade toilet paper that is primarily distributed through supermarkets and discount stores.
Don't expect coreless paper for home anytime soon. The company said the sheer variety of restroom decor makes it less-attractive for consumer use.
"It's a tremendous retrofit for 100 million households," said Mark Cross, a vice president for Irving, Texas-based Kimberly-Clark.
The new coreless tissue uses an adapter to push indents into the roll, allowing it to turn the same as a traditional model. Company officials said their adapters prevent users from yanking the tissue onto the floor.
"It dispenses just as easily as the others," Ms. Mark said. The tissue costs about $1 per roll, about 20 percent more than the company's traditional paper.
Besides offices, Kimberly-Clark hopes to sell the paper in other high-traffic places with public restrooms - hospitals, restaurants, universities, factories and stadiums.
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