How is China combating toilet paper thieves?

Answer: facial recognition software

by / March 22, 2017

Temple of Heaven Park, one of Beijing’s most popular tourist sites, has a theft problem — a toilet paper theft problem. 

Officials suspect the culprits aren’t tourists, but locals looking to restock their personal tissue supplies, according to a report from The New York Times. One cleaning worker at the park reported that sometimes people would simply take an entire roll from the bathroom.

In an effort to combat the growing issue of toilet paper waste and overuse, the park has installed facial recognition software in the restrooms. Before entering, bathroom visitors must have their faces scanned by a wall-mounted computer. A machine then dispenses a two-foot length of toilet paper, and will not provide a second allotment to the same person for nine minutes.

While some are pleased with the benefits of the high-tech TP dispensers, others are more critical. Park employees report that the machines cost about $720 each, while some park visitors found the toilet paper itself simply inadequate.