Angel B. Dukha III

Many people rely on plastic pots to start their seedlings in. But with a little bit of imagination, one can save money and avoid waste by turning used toilet paper rolls (the brown cardboard used to help toilet paper hold its shape) into biodegradable planters.

Zero Waste Philippines shared this idea through social media. It does not only benefit gardeners by helping them save money, but is also a smart way to conserve and recycle resources while starting seedlings. 

To make the toilet paper tube pot, cut six to eight vertical slits around the lower part of the tube then fold the strips downward, overlapping them in the middle and sealing them shut. In case you are using paper towel rolls, you can cut the roll and make up to three seedling pots.

Carefully fill the makeshift pot with moist soil, making sure to leave a bit of space from the edge so soil will not overflow. Place the biodegradable pot over a baking sheet or newspaper. 

Plant one seed in the soil and once it sprouts and germinates, you can plant the whole thing in your garden. You can open the bottom part of the tube before planting in the ground to make room for roots to develop.

Netizens gave positive comments on the toilet paper roll seed starter pod and even saw this as an activity for kids to help develop their skills and appreciation for planting.

Eliz Toguay was one of the many netizens who tried this eco-friendly method. 

“They’re okay for temporary seedlings. I used it for my baby bell peppers,” she said.

Toguay advised, however, to secure the makeshift planter to keep it from toppling over at the slightest movement. She added that this method also uses less soil and produces less trash.

As with most plants, overwatering can cause them to drown. In this case, Toguay said to be extra careful because the toilet paper roll can become soggy and could eventually cause a mess.

Toguay got into gardening during a long vacation after getting married. She was in property management and now plants edible herbs, vegetables, and ornamental houseplants.

Research has shown that plastic components can be found in soils of many ecosystems. As plastic does not easily decompose, its negative effects can continue to make an impact on the soil. By recycling toilet paper as container for seedlings, one can reduce trash and the use of plastic and more importantly, start planting at the same time.