Thursday, July 31, 2014

The demise of the toot-toot?

When I was a child, my siblings and I always looked forward to the
end of the roll of toilet paper.  At the end of the roll .. or more accurately inside the roll, was the wonderful thing we called a toot-toot. This cardboard tube was the perfect size for small hands.  You could hold it up to your mouth and say 'toot-toot'... not only did it sound all cool and echo-y, but you could feel the vibration of the tube in your hand.

Don't get me wrong, we had plenty of books, and toys and things to play with... this isn't one of those 'we were so poor that ...' stories, it was just that we saw tremendous potential in that little cardboard tube. You might think that the tubes inside rolls of paper towels would be even better -- but they came in a distant second in our minds.  There was just something magical about the short little tube from the rolls of toilet paper.

And apparently we weren't unique in our fascination with this item.  A quick search online comes up with "101 Things to do With Toilet Paper Rolls", "Cool Kids Crafts you can make from Toilet Paper Tubes", "17 Ideas for Recycling Toilet Paper Rolls"... you get the idea.  And while my memories of the toot-toot go back 50 years or so, these websites and blog posts I've listed are recent, and the projects range from arts and crafts projects for kids, to more complex arts and crafts projects for adults, to utilitarian organizational projects.

So when I saw a commercial a couple days ago advertising toilet paper rolls without the cardboard tube...

well, I wasn't devastated, but I was indeed a little sad.

But I didn't really catch the whole commercial, I wasn't even sure what brand was being advertised --- perhaps I'd misheard.  So of course I went online to find out what was going on.

And to my surprise, I discovered that this news was first announced  in 2010.. nearly 4 years ago!   So why would someone want to take away this wonderful little item?  When the company first made their announcement, they were asked that very question, and the response was that "The tube doesn't really serve any consumer purpose."  Really?  Were you not aware of those websites and blog posts talking about all the things that a toilet paper tube could be use for?  But as I explored a bit further, I discovered the justification that tubeless toilet paper rolls are environmentally friendly.

Oh.  Well, that's a good reason.

But wait.  In the almost-four years since the first tubeless toilet paper rolls came out... No Other Company has shifted to tubeless toilet paper rolls.  Not the name brand companies, not the generic toilet paper companies.  And think about it...  those tubes are cardboard.  Have you ever taken one of them apart?  They're pretty biodegradable.

I'm not sure why this is the first I've heard of this, but I do find it telling that no one else has jumped on the bandwagon.  For the moment, it would appear that the toot-toot is safe.

Whew.. one more tragedy averted.  That certainly warrants a cup of tea!


  1. You can use them for toys, for rolling up wires. I tried using them to protect my zucchini, which didn't work but the price was right. And you can recycle them so easily. Like you, I'm glad they're still around.

  2. And when you get bigger.. you get paper towel rolls!

  3. Next, they'll try to take away my Quaker Oats oatmeal drum. What's this world coming to?