Culture

‘Who Gives A Crap’ Donates $5.85 Million To Charity After Huge Surge In Toilet Paper Sales

One good things has come out of our obsessive toilet paper hoarding during the pandemic

Who Gives A Crap

The first few months of 2020 were an interesting time to be in the toilet paper industry.

Everywhere you looked the shelves were bare as COVID-19 (a virus that in no way affects your bathroom behaviour) saw people strip the shelves in fear of running out of TP (a predominantly Australian-made product with no risk to its supply chain).

While ridiculous, Australia’s stubborn refusal to stop hoarding the stuff had one positive effect.

Enter Who Gives A Crap — the toilet paper kings who saw their sales increase by over 1000 percent during the height of the pandemic.

Why is that good news? Well, because that increase meant that they were able to donate $5.85 million this week to six charities working to improve access to hygiene, clean water and basic sanitation in developing countries.

Toilets aren’t a very sexy subject, but they’re something we need to be talking about — each year a lack of sanitation leads to the deaths of around 297,000 kids under five from diarrheal diseases.

To try and combat this, the guys behind eco-friendly TP company Who Gives A Crap donate half of its profits to global sanitation charities.

The massive surge in sales has meant they’ve been able to double the combined total of all their previous yearly donations since they were founded back in 2012.

The fact that roughly two billion people don’t have access to a toilet is what inspired business partners Simon Griffiths, Danny Alexander and Jehan Ratnatunga to found Who Gives A Crap back in 2012.

Their origin story is kind of iconic — as part of a crowdfunding campaign Simon live streamed himself sitting on a toilet in a draughty warehouse until there were enough pre-orders to start production. After 50 hours he’d raised over $50,000.

Simon told Junkee they’d watched as toilet paper began selling out in places like Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, but they never really expected that reaction to spread to our shores.

When it did, he said they met the demand with a mixture of excitement and stress at the sheer pace that things were moving.

“We saw a doubling of sales and then a quadrupling of sales … we had to turn our store to sold out to make sure we had enough product for our subscribers and business customers who we want to make sure never run out of toilet paper again,” he said.

“COVID has been a real shock obviously around the world, but for us the first things we were thinking about was our beneficiary partners that we’re working with in places where having soap isn’t a reality.

“If you’re thinking about how hard we’re finding it in Australia, think about somewhere where you don’t have the education around the importance of washing your hands and how to do that in a way that keeps you safe.”

With the health crisis around the world feeding into an economic crisis Simon said the extra money will really help charities who have seen donations dry up in the last few months — although the bank definitely made him jump through some hoops when he walked in wanting to transfer millions of dollars.

Who Gives A Crap’s donations will support WaterAid Australia, WaterAid America, Lwala Community Alliance, Shining Hope For Communities (SHOFCO), Sanergy, and International Development Enterprises (iDE).