Dear Recycling Bins: Our Recycling Advice Column
Dear Recycling Bins,
Like many people, I stocked up on toilet roll at the start of the lockdown. It was great to feel prepared, but as you can imagine, it has left me with a lot of recycling. My recycling bin has been packed to the brim with toilet roll tubes every time I’ve put it out, and I can’t help thinking, I know that cardboard is easy to recycle, but it still seems wasteful.
Do you have any suggestions on how I can reuse cardboard tubes and maybe get the kids involved as well?
Thank you for your question. Yes, we all remember when toilet rolls were being stockpiled in home and garages up and down the country. The fact that people wanted to feel prepared was understandable, but stockpiling does tend to create a lot of waste, no matter what you have stashed away.
The good news is that cardboard is one of the most easily reusable and recyclable materials going. Most cardboard is accepted for recycling by councils including boxes, toilet roll and kitchen roll tubes, corrugated cardboard, cardboard envelopes, greetings cards (without glitter), egg boxes, and brown paper. Any soiled cardboard or greeting cards covered in glitter are not usually accepted.
So when it comes to recycling, your toilet roll tubes are good to go. Of course, you can always reuse your cardboard toilet roll tubes in some creative ways too.
Make desk organisers for your home office
If your desk is a mess and you can never find anything you need in your desk drawer, why not use a few toilet roll tubes to make some desk organisers for your pens and other essentials? All you need to do is spray the tube with some spray paint and add any other decoration you like, then cut a circle from another piece of cardboard to give the tube a solid base. You can cut the toilet roll tubes down to size for smaller items like pencil sharpeners.
Use them to store your wrapping paper
If you’re fed up with pulling out a roll of wrapping paper and finding it all crinkled and unusable, toilet roll tubes are a handy way to store it and keep it neat. Just decorate the toilet roll tube as you like, roll up the wrapping paper, and slot it inside the tube.
Make a bird feeder
If you’ve had plenty of time to enjoy your garden this year, why not make it an oasis for birds as well as for yourself? You can get the kids involved with this one too. You can make a bird feeder from an old empty toilet roll tube. Slather some peanut butter on it then roll the tube in birdseed. Make a few and hang them from a tree in your garden.
Use them to start off your seeds before planting
This is a good tip for all of you gardeners. Before you do any spring planting, you can use little toilet roll tubes pots to start off your seeds. All you have to do is cut the tube in half, then cut 4 half-inch slits on one of the ends, so that you have some ‘flaps.’ Fold the flaps over each other to close one end of the tube. Fill the tube with soil then plant a seed in each pot and water it. Then all that’s left is to remove the tube come planting time.
Put them on your compost heap
Cardboard is great for soaking up water in compost heaps, and it breaks down quite easily too.
We hope you’ve given you some inspiration on how you can recycle your toilet roll tubes and avoid creating a mountain of waste and recycling!