There are plenty of ways to extend the life of the cardboard toilet paper tube through creative reuse. The humble tube is a crafting must-have, and also serves as compost material, cord organizer, pantyhose container, napkin ring, seed germinator, pet rodent toy, and, potentially, a memo pad. But what about tube-less toilet paper rolls? Impossible you say? Watch out, George Costanza, because soon shoppers will be able to purchase just that … toilet paper rolls sans cardboard tubes.


USATODAY  is reporting that on Monday at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores across the Northeast, Kimberly-Clark will introduce tube-free loo rolls through the Scott Naturals brand. I first blogged about Scott Naturals back in August 2009 when Kimberly-Clark launched the recycled content brand, giving the company’s sullied environmental reputation a boost. Well, it seems that K-C is on an, ahem, eco-roll with news of Scott Naturals Tube-Free toilet paper.


The "tube-less technology” behind the toilet paper is, not surprisingly, hush-hush. While the holes in the rolls may not be as round as we're accustomed to, they will fit over standard spindles and every last square of toilet paper will be useable. And to be clear, the toilet paper will not boast recycled content. But hey, it’s a start. If the product performs well during the test run at Walmart and Sam’s Club, Kimberly-Clark may unleash tube-less toilet paper on a national — or even global scale — and extend the technology to paper towels.


Scott Naturals Tube-free toilet paper is part of Kimberly-Clark’s push (some would say a much delayed one) towards eco-innovation. Last month, the company focused on home water conservation with the introduction of the Smart Flush Bag, a water-conserving device given away for free for a limited time with the purchase of Scott Naturals toilet paper. Kimberly-Clark claims that when placed in a toilet tank, the Smart Flush Bag can help a family of four save up to 2,000 gallons of water a year.


Eliminating waste is the drive behind Scott Natural Tube-Free toilet paper. By Kimberly-Clark estimates, 17 billion toilet paper tubes are produced each year in the U.S. When placed end-to-end, those tubes could stretch to the moon and back — twice. All and all, these cardboard toilet paper tubes account for 160 million pounds of landfill-bound trash.


Georgia-Pacific — the makers of Angel Soft, Quilted Northern, and Soft 'n Gentle toilet papers — is also working on creating eco-friendlier bathroom products.


Northeast Walmart and Sam’s Club shoppers: will you buy Scott Naturals Tube-Free toilet paper? Everyone else: do you think you’ll give it a spin if Kimberly-Clark decides to unroll the product nationally? And for more adventurous readers: have you ever entertained the thought of doing away with the tube and the toilet paper (almost) altogether and installing a bidet seat on your toilet?

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Roll with it: Scott's tube-free toilet paper
Kimberly-Clark unveils toilet paper with no cardboard roll in North American test markets in hopes of bringing the no-waste concept to a global level.