Did you know it takes approximately 50 times more water to recycle cardboard than it does to recycle plastic? Recycling cardboard requires massive amounts of water and energy in order to remove ink, bleach, re-pulp the paper, etc. While recycling cardboard is still a more environmentally-friendly option than sending it off to a landfill, it’s even better if you can find a way to reuse it!
Today’s post will focus on reusing one cardboard item in particular, simply because most of us tend to go through a lot of them. I’m referring to cardboard tubes, like the ones at the center of rolls of toilet paper and paper towels. I’ve got a dozen great ideas for reusing those cardboard tubes, and I’ll be sharing those with you today! I decided to focus specifically on uses that are helpful and practical, rather than just crafty. By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to put your cardboard tubes to good use all over the house! :-)
12 Practical Ways To Reuse Cardboard Tubes
1. Organize Your Office Supplies
Use your old cardboard tubes to make a handy organizer for your desk! Start by cutting tubes down to different sizes to make the stuff in the back more accessible. Arrange them into a small box and glue them into place. Decorate it however you want for a cute and FREE desktop organizer!
2. Keep Pants Crease-Free
Use a tube from a roll of paper towels (or two toilet paper tubes) to help keep your pants and slacks free from wrinkles. Just slice the tube(s) open lengthwise, slip them onto the bottom of a hanger, then tape them closed. Hang your pants over the tube to keep them from getting creased in your closet.
3. Secure Wrapping Paper
Use a toilet paper tube to secure a roll of wrapping paper. Just cut a tube open lengthwise and slip it over your wrapping paper. The tube will keep the paper securely in place and keep it from unraveling!
4. Store Cloth Napkins
Use cardboard tubes to keep your nice cloth napkins from getting wrinkled. Just lay out the napkin, place a tube along one edge, then roll the napkin around the tube. You can stack the rolled napkins in a cupboard or closet and they’ll stay pressed until you’re ready to use them again.
5. Make A Handy Firestarter
Keep your cardboard tubes and turn them into handy firestarters! Collect some dryer lint from your lint trap and stuff it into a cardboard tube. Stack up your firestarter and some kindling, and you’ll have a roaring campfire in no time!
6. Organize Cables & Cords
Use a cardboard tube to keep cords and cables tidy. Just wrap the cable up and slip it into the tube. Label the tubes with the type of cord or cable for easy identification!
7. Make A Bird Feeder
It’s easy to make a nice little bird feeder out of an old cardboard tube! Just spread a layer of peanut butter over the outside of the tube, then roll it in birdseed. Hang your bird feeder on a tree branch or pole outside and see what kinds of feathered friends come along!
8. Store Plastic Grocery Bags
Keep your collection of plastic grocery bags contained in a cardboard tube. It will save you quite a bit of space, and it’s easy to pull a bag out when you need one. Keep a bag-filled tube in your car so you always have a “trash bag” when you need one!
9. Start Seeds For Your Garden
Use a cardboard tube to start seeds for your garden. Press part of one edge down, then turn the tube slightly and press the next section of edge down. Repeat until you’ve formed a flat surface. Turn the tube upside down, fill with potting mix, and plant your seeds! Once the seeds are big enough, you can plant the seedling—tube and all—into your garden. (Just saturate the cardboard tube with water first to make sure it will start breaking down quickly.)
10. Make Gift Boxes
Turn a cardboard tube into a small gift box! Press down on the tube to flatten it, then press the edges in to create flaps. Place your gift inside, then tie it closed with ribbon or string. You could also paint the tube beforehand to make it look a little less cardboard-y!
11. Secure Baking Mats
Use a cardboard tube to keep your baking mats organized. Just roll the mats up and slide them into a cardboard tube. You can save a lot of space by storing them this way!
12. Keep Hair Tools Tidy
Tired of the cords of your hair tools getting tangled? Use cardboard tubes to keep them organized! Just wrap the cord up and slip it into a tube. For smaller tools like flat irons, you could also slip the tube over both the tool and the cord.