Toilet tissue has gone coreless — and success in the commercial sector is now spilling over into the consumer sector with campaigns marketing coreless rolls hitting mainstream America. But experts don’t see coreless paper towels happening anytime soon.

“Center-pull rolls end up without a core, but most roll towels that spin in a roll towel cabinet have some form of cardboard core that rides the outer spindles of the towel dispenser,” says Moody.

Some cores are notched on one or both ends, signaling they are proprietary to specific dispensers, ensuring continued paper business for those designated dispensers.

Paper towel cores may be here to stay, but the packaging on the outside of the roll could stand to get a greener makeover. It’s not common for rolls to be individually wrapped, and packaging in that regard has always been minimal in the commercial and institutional sectors. More cartons are being made out of recovered and recycled material as well, says Chipperfield.

Moody advises customers to pay attention to the specs of the boxes they’re ordering so they get the greenest packaging ratio available.

Composting of waste on a large scale at office buildings, schools, and even as part of municipal operations is beginning to take off, particularly in places like eco-conscious California. While most operations focus on food waste, some paper waste can be incorporated into the compost.

“People are incorporating paper towel waste into their compost streams in order to decrease the amount of waste they’re generating,” Schneringer says. “Not only are people interested in sourcing more sustainable alternatives to paper, but they’re looking to incorporate that into a waste diversion program.”

Distributors should keep their eyes on emerging trends and concerns their customers are voicing, so they are able to advocate for products and practices that have less impact on the environment overall while still being a great choice for end users, Chipperfield says.

“There really are products that can meet any customer need and still be a sustainable product,” she says. 

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