In the category of things you never think about until someone points them out, I would put toilet paper rolls. I throw mine in the recycle bin when a roll is empty, but otherwise pay no attention to it.

But the people at Scott Paper did. And they realized that Americans use a lot of those little cardboard rolls: 17 billion tubes/year to be exact. Enough to fill the Empire State Building — twice.

So Scott set to work to reduce the environmental impact of their rolls, and did so not only by making them smaller or more efficient, but by eliminating them all together. Some versions of Scott toilet paper are now “tube free.” 

Take a look around today and see what is in your environment that you take for granted, but perhaps don’t really need. Can you use a white board instead of little paper notes for your “honey-do” list? What about making a big batch of tea instead of using individual bottles? Listening to audio versions or podcasts instead of buying books? Storing things in reusable containers instead of resealable plastic bags?

If Scott can rework its product to eliminate the tube, I’ll bet there is one step you can take today to stop using something forever. The only way big changes happen is through little ones.

beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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