New Tubeless Toilet Paper Could Save a Million Miles of Trash

Toilet paper might go tubeless now that Kimberly-Clark has developed a technology that somehow holds the paper together without the cardboard cylinder at the center. Yes, this is an early Christmas miracle. No, I don't understand how it works.

The 17 billion toilet paper tubes produced annually in the USA account for 160 million pounds of trash, according to Kimberly-Clark estimates, and could stretch more than a million miles placed end-to-end. That's from here to the moon and back -- twice. Most consumers toss, rather than recycle, used tubes, says Doug Daniels, brand manager at Kimberly-Clark. "We found a way to bring innovation to a category as mature as bath tissue," he says.

He won't disclose the tubeless technology used but says it's a special winding process. A similar process is used on tissue the company sells to businesses but not to consumers.

Read the full story on the intertubes at USA Today.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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