Toilet paper toll: How Beijing is aiming to reduce paper wastage

20 March, 2017, 22:52 | Author: Benny Bass
  • The device's software remembers recent faces and if the same a person reappears within a certain period it refuses to activate the automatic roller. File

Authorities say that the system can remember faces, and that each individual will only be allocated paper once every nine minutes. Well, many visitors to the Temple of Heaven are notorious for stashing massive amounts of toilet paper into their bags. In order to get toilet paper, visitors must remove their glasses and hat, and have their faces scanned by a high definition camera.

"I thought the toilet was the last place I had a right to privacy, but they are watching me in there too", one user said on Weibo, a Chinese version micro-blogging site, The Guardian reports. With newly stocked rolls sometimes disappearing within minutes, this behaviour has placed a significant financial burden on the park management.

The manager of the Temple of Heaven Park told the People's Daily that the paper has been overused mainly by residents who live around the neighbourhood instead of tourists; some people intentionally take paper here because it is free of charge.

Six machines have been installed in the toilets to stop tourists from taking paper to use at home.

Since the process takes around 30 seconds, there have been a number of complaints about queues and waiting times - and the machines in a particularly busy toilet are "no longer in operation" as a result.

"If someone is an emergency but the machine is broken and there is no one around to help, it could be very awkward and troublesome", one patron told the Beijing Evening News.

Automatic toilet paper dispensers using face scanners are put on trial at a public toilet in Beijing with the aim of reducing paper usage, a media report said.

The feed you get is 60 cm, which seems reasonable, but it sounds like those wanting more within a short amount of time will have to resort to Minority Report-style tactics to bypass the system. "This is really good, I recommend that it be rolled out nationwide", writes one user. Another said: "Being civilised isn't just something you talk about - you need to act. Is your face worth that money?"

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