How can I reuse or recycle … lots of cardboard tubes?

I’ve had an email from Andrew Urban:

I have something that needs to be recycle and actually is recyclable but maybe companies will charge a lot to take them.

It’s a 12″ long 3″ wide non-corrugated cardboard tube. My company uses around 3,000 a week of these tubes and we need a environmentally friendly way to dispose of them.

We have considered using a wood chipper to chop them into smaller pieces and then send them to a landfill but that will only solve our waste issue not our recycling issue.

This is probably on a lot bigger scale than most of the commenters on this site usually think about but if anyone’s got any ideas at all, post a comment below and maybe Andrew and his company will be able to scale it up and save all that landfill space.

Related Categories

items, packaging

Search for other related items

150 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … lots of cardboard tubes?”

  1. Sharon Sugrue says:

    Check out below website that provides advice for businesses

  2. rita says:

    If your local council collects green waste and makes compost from it they may be able to add them to it.

  3. Niels says:


    Whereabouts is your company based?
    I might like to buy a bunch of them off you.


  4. Amanda Kerik says:

    Offer the tubes to local schools to be used in crafts.

    Glue the tubes side by side and stack them to be used as rolled-up poster holders.

    Ask local kids for ideas – they’ll think of containers, stilts, etc.

  5. Dave says:

    Bind a bunch of them together and use them as a table base. I’ll bet that if you get enough of them together, they’ll support just about anything.

  6. Sue says:

    As there is such a large volume each week you should discuss any possibilities with your current waste contractor on how to deal with this highly recycable item. It shouldn’t cost extra and would save ££ in the long term as youwould be diverting the 3000 pw from landfill

  7. jules says:

    can you return them to the company you purchase them from or however high in the supply chain?
    listing on a site like craigslist in your city for storage, crafting, building playhouses, possibly. you’d get people’s ideas and comments through them.
    pleae let us know what happens.

  8. Andrea says:

    Find a company that uses a similar quantity in a week – for example, a poster printing company – and work out a deal with them. I’m sure they’d be happy not to have to pay for new ones.

  9. Diane says:

    Check out this architects paper tube structures. They might inspire you to build a playhouse or a sculpture or something.

  10. Diane says:

    The architecture firm I used to work for in Seattle used the cores from the 36″ plotter paper on a children’s daycare project for a fun wall covering.

    They also built a tradeshow display which bolted the tubed together and could be disassembled and reused.

  11. Diane says:

    Here’s another one – biodegradable garden bench

  12. Sack36 says:

    Contact a green paper mill. It should be able to be recycled into paper just like anything else. There is also a building company in the united states that is making quite effective planking with polymers and recycled cardboard.

  13. helen says:

    Schools are an excellent idea – I have seen our poster tubes from work transformed into binoculars, flower pots and part of a carnival parade! Offer your local school, playschools, after school clubs, community groups the option, you may be surprised what they can make use of!

  14. Melinda says:

    A company near here that specializes in drapery fabric uses these tubes to roll thier fabric onto, both for sales and to store it. Is there a similar company that would use some of your tubes?

  15. Lesley says:

    I use similar tubes, on a small scale, as uprights in my book shelves. Made with scavenged planks in true student fashion, I was bored with the idea of old bricks to build them up, so I got some rolls that had been left out with rubbish and sawed them into lengths. They can take quite a weight of books.
    I also use tall, narrow plantpots, and the tubes and tins that good whisky bottles come in – I have a lot of book shelves!

  16. Howard Johnson says:

    My any might be interested to use some of the tubes as we are at present seeking a few hundred tubes 165cm x 8cm approx for our own use.

    Where are you?

  17. There are companies who deal in reusing packaging;

    also this company make large items i.e kids furniture toys out of recycling cardbord

    I would be interested in taking a load off of your hands that could become regular, where are you please.


  19. Stuff them full of waste/shredded paper and make fire starting tubes out of them.

  20. Try contacting a business that helps and works with blind people. They often use them to help the blind with projects and they print braille material on the tubes.

  21. Asif Ahmed says:


    I can buy all 3,000 of your tubes each week. Please get intouch

    OSC Recycling

    • carl fletcher says:

      we have cores of different sizes and lengths, we will gladly sell them to you at a very reasonable price, please contact me

      • Declan Durkin says:

        Hi carl, could you please let me know the size of your tubes as i would be interested in buying someor all. Thankyou……

    • dennis laporte says:

      I have at least 100-150 per week you can have american carpet 100 chelmsford rd billerica ma 01862

      • Oscar Lhermitte says:

        I am student in product design at Central Saint Martins School in London, I am really interested about recycling cardboard tubes.Have you still have some? That would be amazing!
        Please contact me
        thank you.

    • bob says:

      have approx 6 trailer loads of cores 2 to 4 inch diameter they were used for coner posts in boxes they are about 3/8 to1/2 inch thick and 4ft long

    • Anonymous says:

      Good afternoon Asif,

      We also have spare card tubes occasionally. Do you still have a need or are you over run with them now?

      Sandra gsn

    • mick lord says:

      hi asif im in a similar posistion and have between 300 to 500 tubes 4 sale of which use t0 have material on. please get in touch

      • Asif says:


        Can i have your contact details so i can contact you.

        My mobile is 07973 795926


  22. Katz says:

    You can offer them to a bulb-recycling factory. They send tubes like this to the customers to collect their old lightbulbs. Search for a factory in your area

  23. Emma Kelly says:

    Please contact me! My school is crying out for cardboard tubes right now!

  24. Sara says:

    I would be interested in talking to you about re-using cardboard tubes, I am an art teacher and I also make posters, so have two outlets for recycling your by-product.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  25. sailsgirl says:

    Cut to smaller size, fill with dirt, start seedlings. Plant entire container.

  26. Oscar Lhermitte says:

    I am student in product design at Central Saint Martins School in London, I am really interested about recycling cardboard tubes.Have you still have some? That would be amazing!
    Please contact me
    thank you.

  27. pablo says:

    Hello Bob,
    We are building furniture and would like to get some of your tubes, please email me.

  28. Toni Peers says:

    Contact your local Scrapstore – these are organisations (usually charities or not for profit) that collect scrap items from local businesses that would useful in children and young people’s creative projects. There are around 100 in the country and if you do a search for a scrapstore in your local area, I’m sure you’ll find one. Cardboard tubes are an invaluable resource for crafts!

  29. If you still have them, is it possible to get a sample. My company may be able to use them.

  30. Rod says:

    I too have many cores that I am having trouble disposing of.

    We have a few sizes, 270, 300, 350 & 400mm long, all at 76mm diameter.

    I would estimate we have a suplus of 2-300 a week, if anyone is intersted in these please contact me, as it troubles me to be land-filling a perfectly good & recycleable product.


  31. Rod says:

    Barbara Short, or anyone else needing tubes, if you need samples or would like to take mine then I can be contacted at

  32. Julie says:

    We also have many cardboard tubes. Most are 55-58″ long, 2-1/2″ in diameter with a 1/4″ thick wall. There are some smaller and some larger with different diameters and thicknesses. We are a sewing shop and our fabric comes on these tubes. All of the tubes are clean and in good to excellent condition. Anyone interested can contact me. Thanks

  33. andrew says:

    i seem to have the same problem as most people on here i have a couple of hundred cardboard tubes for re-cycling every week and am trying to find a solution that does not involve sending them to landfill . the tubes we generate are approx 13″long.4 1/4″ wide and a 1/4″ thick . they are very solid and could be used for various uses. we are based in worcestershire and would be more than happy to give them free of charge to any schools who would like them or to do a deal with any company who would like to have them on an ongoing basis . or if anyone has any new bright ideas for desposal please let me know .

    • victoria says:

      would love to get hold of cardboard tubes for an architecture project for my degree course – how many can I get hold of?

      I will of course organise getting them down to me in Kent if thats possible?


  34. green thing says:

    Hi – I can’t help as you’re in Worcestershire (and the carbon footprint required to get up there would defeat the object!) but I am trying to get hold of some large tubes, about 45 inches diameter and wondered if anyone could recommend what SORT of company might have these to dispose of. Is it printing companies that use paper, fabric companies…? I just have no idea where to start sourcing them.

    I want to make them into storage shelves, ie lots of circles attached together.

    Any advice appreciated

  35. Hi, I am a soft furnisher based in lancashire near Preston. I regularly have these tubes from 45″ to 60″ long and a variety of widths but generally between 1.5″ and 3″ wide. They are what my fabric supplies arrive on. Anyone who who can make use of them can have them but you would have to collect. I can hold up to about fifty before i need to get rid of them. please feel free to contact me. tks Carol

  36. Becky says:

    Hi, I work for a construction company and we are currently getting 3+ tubes a week on average. I’ve been looking for ways to recycle them. Contacting schools and the local college art department etc.
    If anyone in the Ipswich area of Suffolk wants any, let me know.
    They are really strong. 36″ rolls. 8cm diameter. They even have plastic end caps with a hole in.
    Let me know your details and I’ll get in touch.

  37. victoria says:

    I am an architecue student and am looking for cardboard tubing to use in an architectural project. Would it be possible to get hold of some of your waste tubes ?

  38. Cindi says:

    for those of you who do not have hundreds to use but rather a normal household amount, the smaller diameter tubes can be used to store extension cords, Christmas lights and any other type of cord in them. Also if they are sturdy you can cut them in circles and make napkin rings. This could be a project for senior recreation centers and nursing home directors to use in their programs. Elementary schools could also use them in the art dept.

  39. Barry says:

    I am in the development stages of a recycling machine which could use 12″ x 3″ tubes. I am trying to avoid using new ones them because of the cost but if the transport cost is not too restrictive recycled tubes is a very attractive idea. Can I get details?

  40. zig says:

    I don’t know if this has been suggested, but here is my suggestion. How about donating them to elemetary schools, daycare centers or assisted care center??? I’m sure they could use them for arts and crafts.


  41. Declan says:

    Hi, if anyone has any tubes 6 to 8cm in diameter and 55 to 57cm in length i would appreciate any quantity. Thankyou.

  42. Anton says:

    We have a load of 1 metre long tubes from rolls of carpet. They are very heavy duty (approx 7mm thick card) with approx 110mm diameter. We can also supply more on-going as we use stock.

    If anyone’s interested; contact us via our website

  43. Jenny says:

    Hi all,
    I’m looking for card or plastic tubes, but my needs are for smaller ones- 1cm dia. x 12-14cm long.
    can anyone help? I’d rather recycle than buy new, but I don’t mind paying for them. I’ll need approx 50 per month.
    Any help appreciated.

  44. me says:

    primary schools or kids clubs will take some

  45. Can I use them for fuel to heat in a shop stove.? Where are they ? I am in Knoxville TN.

  46. stitches says:

    i’m after cardboard tubes, about 12cm in diameter and about 1.5m long, to store rolls of fabric inside. will need about 50 altogether. can any one help…..?

  47. Emma-j says:

    we use the long carpet/material tubes for jumping poles with the ponys, as if the kids come off & land on them they are somewhat softer than solid wooden poles & if they get broken/bent are a lot cheaper to replace than traditional poles.

  48. chris brady says:

    I am in search for 3 inch ID cores/paper tubes. Will purchase use about a trailer load per week of various sizes. please feel free to contact me if somewhat local. I am located in new jersey. Thanks, Chris

  49. Dave says:

    if you still have a problem i will have them all every week if you deliver them to me

Leave a Reply

Your name
Your email (it will not be published. If you want people to contact you, leave your email address in the message too.)
Your website (if you've got one)