Kimberly-Clark just announced a new toilet paper that — gasp — has no tube. Instead, the paper uses a proprietary winding process that allows the roll to be used up until the very last sheet. An astounding 17 billion paper tubes are used each year in the manufacture of toilet paper, so a small design change like this can literally save millions of pounds of disposed cardboard a year. We applaud Kimberly-Clark with a caveat — currently the new “Naturals” labeled product contains no recycled paper content, which is a much larger environmental concern.
The product will unroll in the Northeast at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores starting Monday. The technology has been used for commercial products already. While the holes are the same size as conventional cardboard tubes, they are not as perfectly smooth, which could lead to less uniform unrolling. Hopefully the technology does not go the way of the Sun Chips compostable bag, which was quickly yanked from production due to unhappy consumers who did not take to the louder bag.
Although the company promises to use recycled paper content in the future for the tubeless TP they are verging on greenwash by labeling this as part of their Scott Naturals line, in which other products use 40% recycled paper.