How to Recycle, Reuse Cardboard Tubes

Do you recycle those cardboard tubes you end up with when you finish using a roll of toilet paper, paper towels, or wrapping paper? I used to toss them in the trash. Until I realized there are many ways how to recycle cardboard tubes. Read these suggestions and see how many can help you organize your home, and keep the kids entertained too!

1. Organize Your Electrical Cords
Do you have a messy drawer full of electrical cords? I did too, until I started to recycle the cardboard tubes from my rolls of paper towels. Just wrap each cord up, then slide a cord into a tube. Label the outside so you know the size of the cord that’s stored inside. The cardboard tubes store neatly, and their protected too.

2. Store Wax Candle Tapers
I used to store wax candle tapers in a drawer too. Except, bouncing around in a drawer often left them broken, chipped, and soiled. Instead, wrap your wax candle tapers in tissue paper. Then slide them into a recycled toilet paper or a paper towel cardboard tube. Now your tapers will be protected in between uses.

3. Make Homemade Fire Starters
How many times have you messed around trying to start a campfire, light your wood stove, or ignite the fireplace? I used to buy those chemically-treated blocks for the fireplace, but they are rather expensive.

Instead of spending money needlessly, just recycle your empty cardboard toilet paper tubes. When you have a bunch of them, you’re ready to make homemade fire starters. This is a good project for the kids to do!

Stuff a wad of old newspaper in one end. In the other end, place dried leaves and small twigs into the tube until it’s full, but not packed tight.

To use, place several homemade fire starters under your fuel wood and light the newspaper end.

4. Paintbrush Holder
The problem with just storing paintbrushes in a drawer is that their brush ends tend to become flared, and the bristles become bent out of shape. They can also get soiled. Place your small paintbrushes inside recycled toilet paper or paper towel cardboard tubes, and your problem is solved!

5. Homemade Bird Feeder
Personally, I love to watch wild birds. I keep a few feeders, plus some bird baths, in my yard for them. I used to buy suet blocks in the winter time so the birds can get the fat they need to help stay warm. Instead of providing suet blocks, why not feed the birds by using cardboard tubes you have recycled? The kids can help you do this too!

Make sure the tubes are clean and have no toilet paper left on them. Poke a hole in one end and tie a long string to it. Then, cover the outside of the tube with peanut butter. Roll the peanut butter in bird seed, and you’re ready to hang your homemade bird feeder outside for your feathered friends!

6. Store Christmas Lights
I used to roll up my strands of Christmas lights and store them in a box after the season was over. When I retrieved the lights the next Christmas, somehow I most always ended up with tangled messes. Now, I recycle the cardboard tubes from rolls of paper towels. Simply roll the lights up neatly, then slide them into a tube and store. No more hassle!

7. Protect Posters and Documents
Do you have old documents and posters you want to save? The best way to store them so they have no creases in them, is to roll them up. Then, recycle a cardboard tube from paper towels or wrapping paper. Slide the poster or document inside, and Presto! It’s protected!

8. Make A Homemade Pencil Holder
This is a good project for your kids as well. Homemade Pencil Holders make great gifts for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. All they need is three toilet paper cardboard tubes and some paint to start with. Have them paint the outside of the tubes. Allow the paint to dry, then set the tubes upright together in a triangular shape. Glue the tubes together, and allow the glue to dry. Then, glue the tubes to a piece of cardboard.

Finally, your kids can finish decorating their homemade pencil holders with colored markers, glitter, ribbons, stickers, crayons, et cetera.

9. Make Homemade Funnels
You can recycle cardboard tubes from rolls of toilet paper and paper towels by using them as funnels around the house. Of course, since they are made of cardboard, you can’t put wet things in the funnel. Dry things such as bird seed, sand, flour, sugar, et cetera, work well.

To make your homemade funnel, simply cut two slits opposite each other in one end of the cardboard tube. To use the funnel, push the slitted end together until it fits into the container you want to pour something into. Then, insert the funnel and pour the item.

10. Store Pantyhose
Since pantyhose and mesh knee highs are made of a delicate nylon material, they tend to snag and tear easily. To protect you pantyhose or knee highs while they’re stored in your drawer, recycle cardboard tubes for the job!

Simply fold each pair over and slide them into a toilet paper tube. Then, place them in your drawer, and they’ll stay snag-free until you’re ready to wear them! You can easily see what color each pair is by looking in the end of the tube.

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