Welcome to the Future: Tubeless Toilet Paper

Life is full of many frustrations, but none so great as getting that last piece of toilet paper off of the cardboard tube. Now the Kimberly-Clarke Corporation, the global producer of paper-based products, may have the solution that will rid people of their toilet paper struggles.

Monday marks the launch of Kimberly-Clark’s new Scott Natural Tube-Free toilet paper. Just as the name asserts, the rolls come void of those pesky cardboard tubes while still being able to fit on the average toilet paper holder. Next week, the tubeless "TP" will be sold in roughly 200 Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs in the Northeast. Such an initiative ultimately raises the question: Why hasn’t this been done before?

“The idea has been around for quite some time,” said Doug Daniels, brand manger for Scott brand. “The tube doesn’t really serve any consumer purpose. But we’ve had a breakthrough in our technology that’s finally allowed us to do this.”

For now, the process of taking out the tube remains a mystery, as Kimberly-Clarke won’t reveal its ground-breaking technology. Daniels says they’re keeping tight-lipped, since they might use the process for future products. But more importantly, he maintains that no cardboard tube means every single piece of toilet paper will be usable, without those last few sheets getting stuck to the roll.

And the benefits aren’t just in favor of the consumer. Kimberly-Clarke estimates that the U.S. alone disposes of 17 billion cardboard tubes from bathroom tissue, equating to 160 million pounds of waste. To put that into perspective, that’s roughly the weight of 250 Boeing 747s and enough tubes to circle the earth’s equator 40 times. Daniels says that this marriage of consumer and ecological advantages will pave the way for the success of the tubeless initiative.

“We looked at those products that help us to preserve our environment, and we saw that consumers aren’t willing to trade off to go green,” asserted Daniels. “So that’s really the beauty of what we’re doing here. To the consumer, there are no compromises. They’re still getting a high-quality product, and the impact of their purchase is still significant to the environment.”

And so far, Daniels says user feedback has been nothing but positive.

“When you put it into people’s hands, it really puts a smile on their face,” joked Daniels. “People will seriously tell us, ‘I never thought I’d be this excited about a roll of bathroom tissue.’”