July 22, 2005 in Business

Potlatch rolling out RV-friendly toilet paper

By The Spokesman-Review

Incredibly enough, toilet paper is a hot topic in RV-themed chat rooms.

With the potential for clogged toilets running high, brands get careful scrutiny. The faster the tissue dissolves in water, the higher the rating from RV owners.

Potlatch Corp. hopes to capture four-star reviews with a new product called SepticSure.

In laboratory testing, SepticSure breaks down within 30 seconds after the flush, said Bruce Woodlief, marketing director for Potlatch’s consumer products division. The company is touting the tissue for use in RVs, boats and home septic systems.

“Unlike a paper towel – where you’re looking for absorbency strength – bathroom tissue is made to function a certain way. In a septic situation, the sooner it can dissolve, the better,” Woodlief said.

The Spokane-based company spent nearly a year developing SepticSure. It dissolves twice as fast as other Potlatch toilet paper, but still maintains a two-ply plushness, according to Woodlief.

Nationally, toilet paper sales represent a $2.5 billion annual market. Potlatch is one of several companies targeting the RV and marine niche.

Coleman – the camping gear company – sells four rolls of brand-name “biodegradable, fast-dissolving” tissue for $4.99. Thetford, a manufacturer of RV and boat toilets, sells toilet paper under the “Aqua Soft” label. Four rolls retail for $5.59.

Potlatch hopes to roll out SepticSure in about four months. The product will be priced competitively, in the $2- to $3-range for four rolls, Woodlief said.

Potlatch produces about 90 percent of the private-label toilet paper sold in the West in Lewiston.

Its customers include Albertsons, Safeway and Fred Meyer.

Woodlief sees a lucrative market for SepticSure in “snowbird” areas of the Southwest. The company will also concentrate on the home septic market. One in four U.S. homes is hooked up to a septic tank, according to federal statistics.

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