Can You Compost Toilet Paper Rolls? (Best Methods & Tips)

Toilet Paper plays a pivotal role in a household, so much so that we prefer to stockpile it. It is a great contributor to maintaining hygiene. While running out of it might seem like a nightmare, we ensure that our bathroom cabinet always has those extra loo rolls.

As it is one of the most consumed things, have you ever wondered what to do with that cardboard tube after using the toilet paper wrapped around it? It is no surprise to think about using those cores for plants. So can you compost toilet paper rolls? Let’s check it out!

Yes, you can compost toilet paper rolls, as they are carbon-heavy, making them a perfect fit for compost. You must cut them into pieces before adding them to the pile and balance them with green materials. For best results, soak the rolls in water for faster decomposition.

Toilet paper rolls or cores are simply thin cylindrical cardboards around which the toilet paper is wrapped. Once you’re done with using the loo roll, there comes the tube, which can be useful to plants if composted correctly. So let’s get started and find out the right way to compost them!

How to Compost Toilet Paper Rolls?

Composting toilet paper rolls is easy and can benefit your compost pile or bin tremendously. However, it is essential to follow the order of the process with certain tricks for the best results.

Step to Compost Toilet Paper Through Hot Composting Method

Hot Composting

Step 1: Cut and Form Strips of the Roll

Though a toilet paper roll is fully compostable, it is better to cut them down. First, cut them in half to form a single piece and then into ½-inch strips. Forming strips out of the tube will give the microbiota extra surface area to act on.

Step 2: Soak Strips in Water (Not mandatory but HIGHLY recommended)

Soaking the roll in water will hydrate the cardboard, ultimately easing the breakdown. This not only adds extra moisture to the pile but also facilitates the population of soil bacteria. 

Though you can skip this process, it is recommended unless you are patient enough to deal with the slow decomposition.

Step 3: Spread the Soaked Roll

Spread a thin layer of soaked strips of toilet paper roll across the surface of the compost pile, and it will act as a brown for the compost.

Note: Don’t cover the entire surface with a thick layer of the soaked roll as it can dry and block aeration in a pile.

Step 4: Add Carbon

Adding browns like pine needles, shredded paper, etc., will not only add Carbon to the compost heap but also will help improve the structure of the compost.

Note: Adding brown material along with toilet paper rolls is important as solely adding the cores will lead to drying and decreased nutrition of the compost pile.

Step 5: Add Nitrogen

It is essential to add green material to facilitate the heating of the compost pile. These include grass clippings, green yard waste, coffee grounds, tea bags, food scraps, fruit and vegetable peels, etc., which are essential to balance the browns. And if you’re a pet parent, you can compost your pet’s hair too!

Step 6: Add Water (If Less)

You know how adding water is beneficial for accelerating the composting process. If the compost is dry, sprinkle water just enough to make it moist.

Step 7: Mix the Pile

Use a rake, garden fork, or a compost stirrer to mix the shredded, soaked toilet paper roll and other materials deep into the pile. Or you can rake the soaked cores through the top foot of compost.

Quick Tip: Start by adding small amounts of toilet paper rolls into the compost pile. Add 3-4 rolls and add more once the initially added rolls break down partially.

Step 8: Maintain the Pile

It is essential to maintain the pile for the successful formation of compost. Monitor the temperature and moisture of the compost pile. 

Note: Turn the pile once a week to hasten up the process.

This process will take anywhere from one to five months, depending on certain conditions like weather, moisture, soil bacteria, etc.

Follow these steps and get nutrient-rich compost with an extra dash of carbon from toilet paper rolls.

And not only this, toilet paper rolls are an excellent feed for worms; therefore, you can compost those rolls via vermicomposting as well.

How to Compost Toilet Paper Rolls Through Vermicomposting?

You can compost toilet paper rolls by adding them to the vermicompost bed since worms will eagerly digest them as they are an excellent Carbon source. Cut the roll, soak the strips in water, and apply evenly on the surface. Cover with a worm blanket to aid the process.

Vermicomposting

For all those who are new to the process of composting with the help of wigglers, here are the steps to guide you through:

Step 1: Cut the Roll

Like the general composting method mentioned above, cut the roll into strips or small pieces. Smaller pieces will facilitate a quicker decomposition.

Step 2: Soak

Soak the rolls in water to ease the decomposition.

Step 3: Spread on a Worm Bed

Spread a thin layer of the soaked rolls evenly on the surface of the vermibed.

Step 4: Add Browns and Greens

Add other Carbon-rich brown materials and balance them with Nitrogen-rich green materials to the bed.

Note: Maintain the ratio of greens and browns to 1:3.

Step 5: Add Other Food Scraps

It is essential to add food scraps to the worm bed to increase nutrition.

Note: Avoid adding citrus, tomatoes, and onions to the vermicomposting bed since all these are unfit for worms to consume due to their odor and acidity.

Step 6: Mix

Mix the layers properly.

Initially, add only 4-5 rolls and layer them on the bottom 2-3 inches. If you wish to add the toilet paper rolls on the top, then prefer adding 1-2 rolls first and adding the rest after the beginning of the decomposition.

Step 7: Cover with Worm Blanket

For those unaware of worm blankets, these are sheets and covers made from jute fibers, cotton sheets, corrugated cardboard, etc. They provide the earthworms with a dark and moist environment in the worm bin, making them act quicker and breaking down things faster.

And that’s all! You will have your toilet paper roll compost ready via vermicomposting in 3-6 months.

And you can also compost those cores by bokashi composting. Simply add them with other brown materials to your bokashi bin, and you’re good to go!

So now you know the process of composting toilet paper rolls, but what are the benefits of the product obtained from this process?

Advantages of Composting Toilet Paper Rolls

Let’s shed some light on the myriad benefits of composting toilet paper rolls.

Throwing an Empty Toilet Paper Roll in Dustbin
  • Save from Landfills: Composting toilet paper rolls is a great way to save them from entering landfills. This way, you can not only refrain them from going into landfills but also treat the plants with plenty of advantages.
  • Provides Carbon: Toilet paper rolls are carbon-heavy and can be an excellent ingredient in your compost if balanced out properly with Nitrogen-rich materials.
  • Absorb Excess Water: These cores soak up the extra water in the compost and balance the moisture level.
  • Aerates Compost: Composting these cardboard tubes helps aerate dense compost heaps and aids the decomposition process.
  • No Odor: Toilet paper rolls have no odor since they are made from plain paper material; therefore, there is less chance of attracting pests to the compost heap.

Thus, toilet paper is valuable to us, and the roll after using the paper is beneficial to plants.

However, with all the points favoring toilet paper rolls for your compost, it’s essential to take precautions for the best results.

Precautions to Take While Composting Toilet Paper Rolls

The good thing about composting toilet paper rolls is that there is not much to be taken care of since it is a pretty simple process and gives you a good quality compost in some time. However, make sure to:

  • Avoid adding a thick layer of soaked toilet paper rolls as this will block the passage of air and will deprive the compost of oxygen and other gases that it needs.
  • Avoid adding toilet paper rolls solely as the compost pile needs other nutrients as well from brown and green materials, and adding cores alone will deprive the compost of those nutrients.

Keep these points in mind; nothing will stop you from giving your plants the best compost!

If you are still left with more cardboard rolls after putting enough in your compost bin, don’t throw them! You can use them later for your compost. And if you don’t wish to compost them, you can use them in other ways for your garden.

Other Way to Use Toilet Paper Rolls for Your Garden

Well, as much as toilet paper benefits you, the core benefits your plants. Here’s how:

Growing Seeds in Empty Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Seed Starter: Toilet paper rolls are great seed starters. All you need to do is place some rolls in a tray, add soil or any growing medium in them, and plant seeds. Take care of them, and you’ll have your seeds germinated in some time.

Quick Tip: Directly plant the seeds without taking them out of the toilet paper roll, as the cardboard rolls are biodegradable and can be a carbon source for your plants.

  • Garden/Raised Beds: Add toilet paper rolls directly to your garden or raised beds. They will act slowly by providing moisture to your garden bed and decompose naturally.
  • Roll String: You can use it as a spool to roll loose string or thread, which you can reuse to tie up the plants.

Therefore, you can utilize your empty toilet roll in many ways for your garden or plants. But is toilet paper roll the only thing to be used for composting? Can you use any other roll which is in your house for composting? Let’s find out!

What Else Can You Use Besides a Toilet Paper Roll?

Well, look around, and you’ll find a lot of compostable things. For example:

  • Aluminum foil roll
  • Tissue paper roll
  • Baking paper or parchment paper roll
  • Paper towel rolls
  • Egg carton
  • Other similar cardboard rolls

Hence, you have a detailed knowledge of composting toilet paper rolls. So whenever you run out of toilet paper, make sure to store the cardboard roll before getting a new one!

Are all toilet paper rolls safe to compost?

Yes, all toilet paper rolls are safe to compost. Sometimes the inside of the roll is bleached to make it white, but the amount of bleach used is not harmful to plants, and you can use the roll for composting.

Why should we soak the toilet paper rolls in water before composting?

You should soak the toilet paper rolls in water before adding them to the compost pile as this will accelerate the composting process tremendously, and skipping the soaking process will still decompose the roll, but slowly.

Can you recycle toilet paper rolls?

Yes, you can recycle empty toilet paper rolls to make recycled paper, recycled toilet paper, or compostable bags. You can make many paper products by recycling the rolls.

What is a composting toilet?

Composting toilet is a sustainable method of converting human waste into compost. Composting toilets do not require using a septic tank or septic system, unlike normal ones.

Are wet wipes compostable?

It is not recommended to compost wet wipes, although the material is paper-like. This is because wet wipes contain plastic and synthetic fibers, which are unsuitable for compost.

Can we add toilet paper rolls directly to the soil?

You can add toilet paper rolls directly to the soil. However, it is recommended to cut them into ½-inch strips to ease the breakdown process.

So we know that toilet paper rolls are a great feed for compost. Considering the amount of toilet paper consumed by people, composting the rolls will make a slight but valuable difference in the amount of waste in landfills. So, don’t throw the rolls in the trash bins; throw them in compost bins.

But not just toilet paper rolls; there are so many other things that can be reused in gardening. For instance, dryer lint. If you want to compost dryer lint! Hop on to our step-by-step guide to follow and go green!

  1. AfOR’s Guidance on Composting Paper and Cardboard – Compost Certification Scheme