Big Issue Vendor

Forget shortages. This loo roll supports the NHS

The good people behind Change Please want to turn toilet paper panic-buying into a "force for good"

This Thursday a new completely recycled toilet paper brand launches – with all of the profits going to fund wellbeing packs plus travel and accommodation costs for NHS workers.

Serious Tissues was set up by the brains behind Change Please, a Big Issue Invest-backed social enterprise that helps homeless people off the street by training them as coffee baristas. The loo roll is made from paper recycled from offices and homes.

Originally designed to help tackle the climate crisis and save some of the 10 million trees cut down every year to make toilet paper, the new product was meant to be kept under wraps until the summer. However the team decided to bring the launch forward in response to the Covid-19 outbreak and direct all profits to NHS Charities Together as frontline healthcare workers continue to risk themselves and their families.

The group reckon that if five per cent of the approximate 20 million families in the UK made the switch to Serious Tissues, at least £10m would go to the NHS.

The cash will fund efforts to get food deliveries, snacks, refreshments, wash kits and overnight stay kits to the workers toughing out long and demanding shifts.

The Serious Tissue team also hope that the money will go to help NHS staff and volunteers recover after the pandemic passes by providing respite, rehabilitation and mental health support.

Co-founder Chris Baker said: “The world has changed rapidly in the past 100 days, so we’ve quickly mobilised and changed our focus from climate change to fighting this terrible pandemic.

“The brand was created to tackle the world’s most serious issues and there is nothing more serious at the moment than coronavirus.

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen people up and down the country panic buying toilet roll and we believe we can turn this behaviour into a force for good.”

When coronavirus no longer poses such a huge threat to people everywhere and the institutions we rely on to keep us healthy, the brand will look again to helping fight the climate crisis with a commitment to plant a tree for every roll sold.

NHS Charities Together CEO Ellie Orton said: “We’re so grateful to be receiving the profits from Serious Tissues’ sales. The funds will help us support the wellbeing of NHS staff, volunteers and patients affected by COVID-19. It really is a brave new world when even our toilet tissue can help make such a difference to so many lives.”

Customers can get Serious Tissues online to be delivered directly to their homes as single orders or subscriptions, starting at £24 per box of 36 rolls.