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Toilet Paper Tubes

They are cardboard, small and round. We all have them, often in multiple rooms of our home, and all too often…they stack up in our garbage bins. What are they? Toilet paper tubes! As silly as it may seem my pet peeve is having nowhere in the restroom to put a used up toilet paper roll’s tube (except the trash) when it’s ready to be switched out and prime for reusing or recycling. Last week I finally put an extra receptacle in my bathroom to collect these tubes in one place. Now they are prime for recycling! Today I also found some great ideas for how to reuse toilet paper tubes from the World Environmental Organization and The Green Parent’s websites.

Here are my favorites:

  • Use in place of a peat pot. Fill with potting soil, place in a plastic butter/ice cream tub, plant the seed and water. When the plant sprouts, plant the seedling (tube and all) in the ground. The tube rots away.
  • Stuff an extra set of stockings into a tube and keep in your desk drawer at work, your glove compartment, etc. in case of a run.
  • Stuff a few plastic bags into the tube and then place the tube in the glove compartment of your car. It will keep them tidy and on-hand for when you need them.
  • Use for storing long pieces of ribbon which have been saved from packages. This will keep the ribbon smooth.
  • Donate old toilet paper or paper towel tubes to your local school or library to use as craft projects.

So whether you reuse your toilet paper tubes for gardening or ribbons, or you recycle them straight away, thanks for keeping them out of the trash!

The Forgotten “R”

My sandals have new soles—and it took a village!

I can’t thank my local shoe repair man. How he pays the rent is a mystery, when each time I offer him a pair of shoes to fix, he sneers at me and thrusts them back, yelling (he doesn’t hear well) “No! No good!”

My well-loved and well-worn Mexican sandals are the most recent shoes he spurned. They were too cheap; I could buy three new pairs for the price he’d charge me; I should throw them away; etc, etc. But then I came to Holden Village.

If you’ve ever visited this Lutheran retreat center tucked in the mountains of central Washington, you know that it’s a place that values creative re-use. Clothing, furniture, and books shift endlessly from use to use, owner to owner. From the boxes of extra, free men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, a friend fished a pair of flip flops. He detached the soles, used glue and clamps to attach them to my sandals, and now I am walking with the confidence of a woman who knows her next step won’t be her shoes’ last.

Remember the mantra, “reduce, reuse, recycle?” Reducing—making and buying less—is straightforward if unpopular. Recycling is getting easier as more businesses and communities go “green.” But when a man trained to repair shoes won’t do so, you know that fixing, repurposing, or sharing things is a lost art.

Let’s try to change this. Check your closet for an item that needs hemming, or a new button, or a new sole, or a new plug. Fix it yourself, or find someone who can help you. For creative inspiration, get a copy of the hip do-it-yourself magazine, Ready Made.

Stand up for reuse, that forgotten second “R!”