First of all I composted them. Then I saved them for use in a (predictably abortive) attempt at poisoning all the bindweed in my garden.
So what next for my beautiful cardboard tube stash? Plenty, as it happens.
And of course, all these ideas work for bog roll tubes too. Or toilet roll inners. Or whatever you want to call them…
Tangle-free storage for Christmas lights
I did this when we took down the Christmas decorations a couple of weeks ago. The tree lights pack up small, but get into terrible tangles. So I coiled the wires tightly around the kitchen paper tube and pinned the end in place with an old kirby grip, ready for next year.
On consideration I may also, albeit unwittingly, have made a super-festive electromagnet. I may plug it in next December and pick up the sixpence in the Christmas pudding.
Crumple-free storage for artwork and small posters
Self-explanatory, no? I have quite a few small items – mainly gig posters and art prints, but also education certificates – that I am storing in this way.
Thanks to the ever-helpful Mrs Green at MyZeroWaste for the How To video. As she notes:
“Last year I paid a Kings ransom for some biodegradable pots and realised I’d been, as they say in the trade, taken for a ride. I mean, come on – biodegradable pots; that’s just a toilet roll inner, right? There’s no faffing around trying to get the seedling out of the pot, you just chuck the whole lot in the ground and the cardboard disintegrates, keeping the seedling happy and snug in the meantime. Horrah!”
One of her commenters suggests removing the bottoms of the tubes before you plant them.
Another great tip from MyZeroWaste, this time from guest poster Sarah:
“Carrots hate being moved, if you try to transplant them they split, fork or die, don’t form that delicious tap root and are generally inedible. So you can’t usually give them a head start indoors or in a greenhouse, which plants need in my garden – because the soil is cold and sticky.
“So, I saved some toilet roll inners, stood them in a deep tray, filled them with compost and sowed my carrots. They germinated and grew fine on the window sill. I went to plant them out and the cardboard was still solid enough to handle reasonably well. I left one or two seedlings in each tube and set them in rows in the veg bed…planting season finally came to an end and I now had several rows of carrots grown this way.”
Kindling for fires
I have seen some complicated “recipes” for filling empty tubes with various ingredients and using them as kindling, but the simplest one can be found at The Cottage Smallholder:
“Last week, without a trusty firelighter, I suddenly had a brainwave. The coal scuttle was full of loo roll tubes. I scrunched up newspaper really tight and pushed it into a roll leaving a ‘wick’ of newspaper at one end. Danny lit the wick and placed the tube in amongst the damp kindling. It burnt for quite a while and easily lit the temperamental stove.”
Any ideas that I have missed?