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What to Do with Empty Toilet Rolls

12/08/2022mins readWant to learn more?Keep up to date with Oceans news, Latest products and our actions for Oceans.

It’s easy to think that the usefulness of toilet rolls is over once you’ve torn off that last sheet of paper, but that doesn’t have to be true.

In the spirit of reduce, reuse and recycle, why not put those empty cardboard rolls to good use in and around your home – and make your plastic-free toilet paper even better for the environment.

What can you make with empty toilet paper rolls?

When it comes to crafting empty toilet roll tubes into helpful items for your home, your imagination and creativity are your only limits. We’ve listed a few of our favourite sustainable craft ideas below, but there are many more you can try to give your empty loo rolls a new lease of life.

Keep reading to learn more.

Desk organisers

Need to organise your desk? Before you rush out to the shops to splurge on a plastic organiser, consider making your own with a few empty toilet roll tubes. You can paint it any colour you like and make it into any size or shape to fit your desk arrangement. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing organiser is much better for the environment.

Here’s what you need to try out this craft:

  • Empty toilet roll tubes
  • A sheet of cardboard (such as one side of a shoe box)
  • Scissors and glue
  • Optional decorating supplies (paint, washi tape, glitter, etc.)

To make a simple pencil holder, all you need to do is cut small vertical lines into one end of your toilet roll tube to make square tabs. Fold these inwards so they cover the opening of the tube, and then apply glue to the bottom side of them. Stick your tube to your cardboard sheet base, and that’s it! As soon as the glue dries, you’ll be able to store pens, pencils, markers and more.

That is a very basic example, but the beauty of this craft is that you can customise it completely. Need more pen holders? Repeat the process with more empty toilet rolls and create a huddle of pen holders on your cardboard base.

If you need shorter parts to hold things like erasers, sharpeners, clips or more, simply cut the length of your tube down to size. Additionally, you can use all your creative juices to decorate your desk organiser to your heart’s content, making it as colourful as you like.

Fire starters

If you’re a fan of campfires, this is a great way to use up your unwanted toilet roll tubes. Whip up a few of these DIY fire starters and lighting your fire will be easy as anything. Just put them at the base of your fire, surrounded by twigs and kindling wood, and light! All you’ll need to make these fire starters is newspaper, some empty toilet rolls and the dryer lint from your tumble dryer.

Top tip: Collect your dryer lint in a non-plastic container every time you clean out your tumble dryer to make sure you’ll have enough to make this craft!

To make a fire starter, stand one of your empty loo rolls vertically on a sheet of newspaper. Loosely fill them with dryer lint, then wrap the lot in newspaper so the lint can’t fall out. Tuck the ends of your newspaper into the tube to secure it, and voila! You have your very own DIY fire starter.

Wrapping paper organisers

Have you ever tried to wrap a present, only to find out your paper is all crinkled and torn because it won’t stay rolled up? Here’s a simple way to make sure you never have that problem again. Just slide your empty loo roll over the end of your wrapping paper tube until it’s in the middle, and the paper shouldn’t unroll.

Makeshift smartphone speaker

Turn up the music with this easy five-minute hack. All you need is an empty toilet roll, a pair of scissors, your phone and four drawing pins. Hold your toilet roll tube horizontally and cut a slot into it big enough for your phone to partially sit inside so the speakers are in the tube. Then push the four pins into the side of the tube so they act as little feet on which your amplifier stands. Finally, turn on your favourite song and let the tunes flow!

Cable organiser

This craft is an absolute must if you have lots of cables in a drawer getting tangled together. Simply take a cable and wrap it up into a small oval. Then slide it inside an empty loo roll, and it should stay wrapped up. You can always decorate the tubes to make them prettier or add labels, so you know which cable is in which one.

Top tip: This hack is also a great way to store earphones when you’re not using them!

Curtain spacers

If you’re a fan of Mrs Hinch, you may already know that you can use DIY hacks to make almost anything in your home look better without splurging lots of money into home renovations. But did you know that you can use toilet rolls to make your curtains hang perfectly?

Just cut your empty loo rolls vertically and put them around the curtain rail between each ring to create perfect pleats in your curtains. You may need to cut the loo rolls to size to get a smaller pleat or use more than one loo roll between each ring to get a bigger pleat.

Once you’re happy with the look, tape the toilet roll tubes back together around your curtain pole so they don’t fall off when you open or close the curtains, and enjoy your effortless pleats!

Can you recycle empty toilet paper rolls?

So, what if you’ve crafted all the items you need, but you still have leftover toilet roll tubes? Well, the good news is that, as they’re 100% cardboard, they can go in your cardboard recycling bin. Remember to squash any cardboard you put in the recycling, as this will allow you to fit more in and recycle as much as possible.

Can you put toilet paper rolls in the compost?

If you have a compost heap, you can also add your empty toilet rolls to it! Cardboard is 100% biodegradable, which is why it’s such a great sustainable resource. With time your old loo rolls should turn into compost you can use in your garden with no problems. Remember, smaller pieces of cardboard will compost quicker, so tearing up your empty toilet roll tubes will speed up the process.


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