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ATLANTA (AP) – The empty space in the middle of the toilet paper roll is about to vanish.

Kimberly-Clark Corp. is eliminating the cardboard tube in two of its toilet-tissue brands for corporate and institutional restrooms.

The space will be filled with more toilet paper to help reduce the threat of running out at a really bad time. The innovation is also aimed at reducing the time and labor spent restocking restrooms.

The company’s new Kleenex Cottonelle Coreless and Scott Coreless brands are being launched nationally this month after tests in nine cities.

Instead of a roller poked through a cardboard tube, they use a plastic adapter that holds a full roll of tissue and allows it to turn the same as a traditional model.

Filling the middle with more tissue doubles the Cottonelle roll to 1,000 sheets, while Scott Coreless boasts 800. The tissue costs about $1 per roll, or about 20 percent more.

The new rolls were inspired by building managers who sought to reduce runouts and labor costs.

Running out of toilet paper reflects poorly on a business, “especially with high-end office buildings,” said Tracy Mark, tissue product manager at Kimberly-Clark’s commercial unit, based in the Atlanta area.

“It’s one of the biggest complaints they get, and they spend a lot of money making sure they have maintenance people refilling it.”

Rival Georgia-Pacific Corp. makes toilet paper that has a gap in the middle about the diameter of a pencil.

Don’t expect coreless paper for home use anytime soon. The company said the variety of styles of dispensers in home bathrooms is too big an obstacle.

“It’s a tremendous retrofit for 100 million households,” said Mark Cross, a vice president of Kimberly-Clark, based in Irving, Texas.

Steve Howard, operations manager at a Boston office tower, said he decided against switching to the coreless roll because he did not want to be stuck with Kimberly-Clark’s adapters in his 70 restrooms if the paper’s price rose.

“We’re already locked in with their soap dispensers,” he said. “We don’t want to get locked in with their toilet paper, too.”

But John McGowan, restroom manager for a 21-floor office building in New York, said he would love to switch. He oversees 84 restrooms.

“You got four public restrooms per floor, three toilets in the men’s and five in the ladies,” he said. “It adds up, man.”

onthenet

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