Georgia producers working to meet toilet paper demand


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Many household paper manufacturers such as Georgia-Pacific, maker of Angel Soft brand bathroom tissue, have major operations in Georgia. (Courtesy of Georgia-Pacific)


Many companies have major operations in the Peach State

As Americans adhere to social distancing guidelines amid COVID-19 concerns and prepare for extended periods at home, shoppers are repeatedly having difficulty stocking up on an essential item — toilet paper.

Images and videos shared across social media show long retail lines, panicked consumers and depleted stocks of bathroom tissue. However, many Georgians may not realize this everyday necessity is largely manufactured in the Peach State.

Although recent demand has been higher than normal, household paper manufacturers, many of which have major operations in Georgia, have been adjusting production schedules to ensure a steady flow of products reaches store shelves.

For example, the Atlanta-based manufacturer Georgia-Pacific, maker of Quilted Northern and Angel Soft brand bathroom tissue and one of the world’s largest suppliers of paper products, has seen significant demand in their retail business, specifically for tissue and towel products, and expects to see those trends continue for the time being.

“As a company, we have our teams working cooperatively and quickly together to deliver as much product as we possibly can,” said Eric Abercrombie, spokesman for Georgia-Pacific. “We are working hard to maximize the number of deliveries we can load and ship out of our facilities. In fact, a few weeks ago our mills and regional distribution centers managed to ship out around 120 percent of normal capacity, and we’re also working with customers to have direct shipments when possible to reduce distribution time.”

International Paper is another major supplier operating in Georgia. In a statement to International Paper’s global team members, CEO Mark Sutton said the company plays a critical role in the supply chain. Sutton added that plants are operating safely.

“There has never been a more important time for International Paper to deliver the products we make,” Sutton said.

Paper products are a major economic driver in the U.S., especially in Georgia, where the forestry industry generates $36.8 billion in annual economic impact.

The state is home to nearly 1,400 forest product manufacturers and consistently ranks as a top producer of pulp and paper in the U.S. Major forest products importers and exporters through Georgia’s ports include Interfor, International Paper Company, Georgia-Pacific, Rayonier and FR Meyer’s Sohn.