Are there any recycling uses for empty paper towel tubes?

Empty paper towel tubes, also known as cardboard tubes, are a common sight in most households. Once the paper towels have been used up, these tubes often find their way into the recycling bin or, unfortunately, the trash. But wait! Before you toss them away, have you ever wondered if there are creative ways to repurpose these humble cardboard tubes? In this blog post, we’ll explore various recycling uses for empty paper towel tubes, along with some innovative cardboard tube crafts for adults.

Recycling Uses for Empty Paper Towel Tubes

1. Seed Starters

Paper towel tubes make excellent biodegradable seed starters for your garden. Simply fill them with potting soil, plant your seeds, and once the seedlings are ready to be transplanted, you can place the entire tube directly into the ground. The cardboard will break down over time, providing nutrients to the soil.

2. Cord Organizers

Tired of tangled cords cluttering up your drawers? Cut cardboard tubes into smaller sections and use them to neatly organize cords such as charger cables, headphones, and computer cables. Label each tube for easy identification.

3. Packing Material

Instead of using bubble wrap or packing peanuts, consider using cardboard tubes as packing material when shipping fragile items. Simply cut the tubes into smaller sections and place them around the item to provide cushioning and protection during transit.

4. Fire Starters

Cardboard tubes make fantastic fire starters for your fireplace or campfire. Simply stuff them with newspaper or other combustible materials, and light one end. The cardboard will catch fire easily and burn slowly, helping to ignite larger pieces of wood.

5. Desk Organizer

Get your workspace in order by using cardboard tubes as desk organizers. Cut the tubes to varying heights and glue them together in a grid pattern to create compartments for holding pens, pencils, scissors, and other office supplies.

6. DIY Bird Feeders

Invite feathered friends to your backyard by repurposing cardboard tubes into bird feeders. Coat the tubes with peanut butter, then roll them in birdseed. Hang them from tree branches using twine, and watch as birds flock to enjoy the tasty treat.

7. Art Projects

Let your creativity flow by incorporating cardboard tubes into art projects. Use them as stampers for creating unique patterns, or cut them into different shapes to use as stencils. You can also paint and decorate the tubes to make colorful sculptures or ornaments.

Cardboard Tube Crafts for Adults

Looking for some fun and challenging DIY projects to try? Here are a few cardboard tube crafts that adults can enjoy:

1. DIY Kaleidoscope

Create your own mesmerizing kaleidoscope using cardboard tubes, mirrors, and colorful beads. Follow online tutorials to assemble the components and customize your kaleidoscope with different patterns and designs.

2. Decorative Wall Art

Transform plain cardboard tubes into stunning pieces of wall art by cutting them into various lengths and arranging them into geometric patterns. Paint or wrap the tubes with decorative paper to add visual interest, then mount them onto a canvas or wooden board for display.

3. Jewelry Organizer

Keep your jewelry organized and tangle-free by crafting a stylish organizer from cardboard tubes. Cut the tubes into smaller sections and stack them inside a decorative box or frame. You can insert hooks or small rods to hang necklaces and bracelets, while smaller tubes can hold rings and earrings.

4. Plant Pots

Give your indoor plants a eco-friendly home by using cardboard tubes as plant pots. Cut the tubes to the desired height, then place them in a tray filled with potting soil. Plant your favorite herbs or small flowers, and watch them thrive in their new recycled containers.

5. Wine Bottle Holder

Impress your guests with a homemade wine bottle holder crafted from cardboard tubes. Cut the tubes to the height of the wine bottles, then glue them together in a circular pattern to create a sturdy base. Paint or decorate the holder to match your decor, and voila! You have a unique centerpiece for your dinner table.


Next time you’re about to toss out empty paper towel tubes, think twice! With a little creativity and imagination, these versatile cardboard tubes can be transformed into useful items and beautiful works of art. Whether you’re looking for practical recycling solutions or fun crafting projects, there’s no shortage of ways to repurpose cardboard tubes and reduce waste in your home. So go ahead, unleash your inner artist and eco-warrior, and give those humble tubes a second life!

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