Nieuws - 24 oktober 2012

WUR panel tests toilet paper

On your butts, get set, go... What will the new toilet paper in Wageningen UR be? Yesterday afternoon, a test panel took their positions In the Forum to decide.

Mind you, the word 'position' should not be interpreted literally. The 'sanitary test panel', made up of 16 students and employees, did not have to remove any clothes on this occasion. Instead, testing was done by hand. The panel members fingered and roughened up the tens of paper samples, straightened them out, stretched them and even held them up against the light. Each of them did this in the quiet and privacy of separate test cubicles.
'Before this, you thought: paper is paper. But there are many real differences,' says panel member Anneke Bammens (Facilities & Services). 'It's a good thing we don't have some of them in our office; you can easily poke through them. Like those flimsy grey pieces of paper in the Computechnion and other buildings. Fortunately, we have in Actio nice, soft and thick paper from Tork.' And if she has her way, this would remain so.
The toilet paper test is part of the European tender system concerning toilet paper and paper hand towels. For a supplier, this is a big order. Within Wageningen UR, a total of about forty thousand euros of these papers are used. An earlier tender exercise ended in a court case when one of the participating suppliers felt it was treated unfairly. Therefore, the entire procedure had to be repeated.
What the panel had to do was to compare products. It compared no less than 11 different types of paper used within Wageningen UR at present (six types of wc paper, five types of paper hand towels) with similar products from a total of eight suppliers, explains project manager Lisette Schoonman. Piece by piece and double-blind. For each paper, the panel members rated the general comfort (thickness, softness and firmness) on a scale of five. Afterwards, the ratings were expressed as an average score for each company.
No sixes
The final score has to be at least 6.75, Schoonman says. Less than that would be unaccepted. But there is no winner yet. The score has to be converted into a point valuation which will account for more than 50 percent of the quality evaluation of the paper. Quality and price - both just as important - will eventually determine who the winner is. It is complicated, Schoonman admits, but judicially solid. The new contract is expected to start next year.