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How Much S.F. Spends on Toilet Paper 

Wednesday, Apr 27 2011

With budget season upon us already, our elected leaders are gearing up to accuse their opponents of flushing money down the toilet. At times like these, it may be illuminating — or, at least, a bit of fun — to figure out how much cash really does go down our drains.

So SF Weekly asked city purchaser Naomi Kelly for a peek at San Francisco's TP budget. The request obviously piqued her interest. She combed the city's janitorial paper contracts, segregated the toilet paper data, and compiled a magnificent seven-page compendium revealing just who used all the toilet paper in this city, how much it cost, and even whether they obtained single-ply, two-ply, or the princely "jumbo."

In any event, the next time city officials begin talking about how much money will be saved because of their heroic actions, remember how much this city doled out for toilet paper in 2010: $833,113.

The bulk of that money is flushed away at San Francisco International Airport, which rolled through $466,142 worth of bathroom tissue. SFO spokesman Mike McCarron is quick to note that this money comes out of the airport's operating expenses and not from San Francisco taxpayers. As to how an airport without an Sbarro manages to wipe out this much TP, McCarron just isn't sure — though it is a big place and has more bathrooms than Versailles. But when one considers that 39 million passengers pass through SFO each year, the per-capita toilet paper cost of 1.2 cents sounds downright reasonable.

Other nuggets from the Toilet Paper Papers:

• People traumatized by a trip to the Main Library restrooms can at least take heart that the toilet paper they used was two-ply.

• The Recreation and Park Department spent $49,893 on TP — just 9 percent of what the city paid to erect a public restroom in the Panhandle.

• The paper Fast Pass is history, but there's still plenty of paper being used by the Municipal Transportation Agency. "Public Transportation" expended $24,249 on bathroom tissue.

• Both the Community Mental Health System and Juvenile Court provided their downtrodden charges with single-ply paper.

San Francisco's prison population ran through $119,300 worth of paper.

Read the source document online at

About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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