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Iowa Prisoners to Make Own Toilet Paper

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Iowa prisons could soon force inmates to make their own toilet paper. The state’s nine prisons hold close to 8,900 inmates, in addition to employing about 2,800 workers. That comes out to 900,000 rolls of toilet paper annually. Processing TP in-house would save an estimated $100,000 a year, plus provide jobs to inmates.

The Des Moines Register reported earlier this week that two prisons are already testing the program. If the Iowa Legislature supports the idea, the program could get the green light as early as next year.

Here’s how it would work:

“Prison Industries would buy 1-ton rolls of toilet tissue from paper mills. Special toilet paper-processing equipment, costing about $350,000, would be used to rewind it, slice it into smaller rolls and package it to supply the needs of the Department of Corrections.”

Associate Anamosa Warden Al Reiter told the Register: “If you looked at this stuff and compared it to the toilet paper that you buy in the store, you would say, 'Boy, this doesn't look very good.”

Reiter added: "It's not nice and fluffy, but the state is saying that this is an acceptable roll of toilet paper."

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

That’s right, Americans everywhere need to adopt this simple, cost-saving measure. Turns out, making your own toilet paper is incredibly simple (hat tip: Internet).

1) Start by making the pulp for your toilet paper. This is the slurry that you will dry in sheets. Get some soft wood, such as pine. (For obvious reasons, using hardwoods is not the best idea.) Cut the pine with a band saw until you are left with very thin pieces and lots of sawdust.

2) Put the sawdust into a blender. (You might not want to use a new appliance to make your pulp.) Add some cotton fibers. It might be hard to cut cotton balls into small pieces, so use something looser. Try different fibers, such as polyester or even silk, if you’re feeling adventurous. Pour a few tablespoons of moisturizing hand lotion into the mix and finish it up with a little water, just enough to let all of the solids move around.

3) Blend the mixture into a slurry. Don’t worry about overdoing it; the puree setting is just fine. All of the fibers, pulp and lotion should be mixing together, the pieces getting progressively smaller. If the solids are clumping up, add more water.

4) Pour the slurry over a screen. The water will fall right through, leaving a sheet of toilet paper. You can go as thick or as thin as you like, and you can use a round or rectangular screen; the point is that it’s up to you.

5) Put the screen on a cloth or paper towel, then place a heavy, flat object on top of your sheet of toilet paper. This will get the majority of the water out. Transfer this semi-dry sheet to another flat surface and repeat until you have made as much toilet paper as you’ll need. Stack your sheets after they’ve dried completely.

6) Experiment until you have found the right recipe and procedure to give you the desired results. Try adding more lotions or less water. If you prefer fragrant toilet paper, add a perfume of your choice.
Easy as pie.
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