How to Recycle Toilet Rolls

toilet roll lampshade

Aren’t toilet rolls amazing? If you’re a ‘yes, I do like to read-on-the-toilet’ chiquita, print this out and flick through our almost-nearly 101 uses for recycled toilet roll. From DIY christmas crackers to making lampshades, you’ll be amazed and occasionally bewildered.


Saved up quite a few toilet rolls? Make a toilet paper lampshade like Ale Anton did.

How to recycle toilet rolls


School art project donation

Donate toilet rolls to local schools for art projects. If you’re feeling super-careful, you can sterilise them with a quick blast in a microwave.

Lead tidies

Organise your power leads: Slackly fold each cable back and forth a few times and push all the loops through a cardboard tube. Depending on the thickness of your cable, you can get a few in each tube.

How to recycle toilet rolls

Cable tidying thing!

Plant pots

Cut toilet roll tubes in half (and kitchen roll tubes into quarters) and use them as plant pots for seedlings. They’re as good as peat pots – and better for the environment and cheaper too. For the bottom you can use scrunched-up newspaper. It’s not foolproof and you have to be careful when carrying it from greenhouse to bed but it just pretty much dissolves when wet enough so the roots don’t have any problem growing through. Or fold the toilet paper bottoms with easy origami.

Desk tidies

Make a low-tech desk tidy: Stick three together with differing heights, paint and varnish if you wish, and stick them to a circle of card.

Plastic bag wranglers

With the longer kitchen roll tubes, you can store a bunch of carrier bags inside each tube. Leave a tube of bags near every bin in your house.

Musical instruments

Cover both ends with several sheets of grease-proof paper and rubber bands after half-filling with pistachio nut shells to make a percussion instrument. Decorate to taste. If you smear the outside with clay, then dry, you’ve got something that looks pretty ethnic indeed.


Make a unique envelope! Without breaking it, you can flatten it and address it, then staple or (thoroughly!) tape the ends shut. As long as the postage and address are correct, it will go through the postal service as intended.

Giant crayons

Use them as molds for making giant crayons. Separate old crayons into basic primary colors, melt them down and pour the wax into the tubes with waxed paper on the ends held with elastic. This uses up old crayons well, too. And you can, if you prefer, not separate the colours but create a new one from a mix of crayons – try to stick green with blues and reds with purples/pinks, ie. crayons with the same tones, so your new colour doesn’t end up murky.

Toilet roll Christmas crackers

Make Christmas crackers from them (here’s how to make your own Christmas crackers).

How to recycle toilet rolls

Christmas crackers!

Fragrant burners

If you have an open fire, stuff the toilet rolls with pine cones and they’ll make a fragrant, wonderful kindling.

Birthday or Christmas gift boxes

Make a pretty tube gift box or surprise gift package.

How to recycle toilet rolls

Gift box!

How to recycle toilet rolls

Slightly different kind of gift box!