Why mobile units at races run out of toilet paper




toilet paper

Portable toilet units are usually provided at most mid-to-long distance running events such as half and full marathons. These units are placed at the start and key points of the racing course. Toilet paper is a common feature in these units.

It is quite common for these facilities to run out of toilet paper due to the sheer magnitude of participants and the higher tendency to discharge human waste. Aside from a high demand to use the restroom, what other reasons could be responsible for why these toilet papers run out. 


Possible reasons toilet papers run out at mobile toilets.

1) Race budget: Race organisers usually work within a predefined budget. It’s a budget that caters to things like isotonic drinks, fruits, energy gels, portable toilets, and needed supplies. The budget available to race organisers also determines the quantity and quality of the toilet paper, which should cost around 15-30p per roll. The average price of these rolls is primarily determined by the level of ply, which demonstrates its texture, degree of softness, and absorbance level. 

2) Gender ratio: Gender distribution plays a vital role in using toilets at mobile facilities in marathon events. The standard within the industry is between two to four single-ply 1,000-sheet rolls per stall. This estimate can tilt either way depending on the ratio of women to men or vice versa. An event with more women will require a higher demand and usage of toilet paper. This could explain why the mobile units at some events are more likely to run out of toilet paper than others. 

3) The quality and ply of toilet paper ordered: The number of ply used determines the number of sheets in a roll. One-ply toilet papers have more sheets and are less likely to lead to clogging when compared to their higher ply counterparts. One-ply toilet paper that is soft, economical, and absorbent can be excellent for events expected to have a high demand. 

4) Toilet habit of users: The toilet behaviour of users varies. Some are efficient and considerate with the amount of toilet paper used during a visit. There is bound to be a toilet paper shortage if most users are wasteful with the number of rolls used. 

5) Poor planning and estimation: The success and failure of events largely depend on the planning and organisation. Organisers need to have a well-informed estimate of the total number of attendees that are expected, gender distribution, available budget, and the required number of mobile units and toilet papers. It is easier to determine the possible reasons why toilet paper may have run out when effective planning is put in place.

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