The new wave in spiraled tube ducts is making its way across the world and into Australia, where a new wave is making a comeback.
It’s the latest twist in a long history of the tube and has been making its rounds for some time, but has been largely ignored in Australia, which has one of the highest spiraled population densities in the world.
There are about 2.3 million spiraled tubes, or 10 per cent of the total population, according to the Australian Taxation Office.
The vast majority of them are for children, and the majority of the ones being sold for scrap or sold on eBay are children’s tubes.
“There’s been a huge increase in the number of spirals and it’s definitely making its presence felt in Australia,” said Andrew Krys, a principal at the business consultancy P&M.
“It’s been the number one source of income in the Australian economy for years, but people haven’t really taken notice.”
Krys says there is a “surge” in the interest for spirals over the past year, and that the trend is likely to continue.
“We’re seeing people coming in and just saying, ‘I’d like to try something like this,’ or ‘I’ll make a new one for my son’,” he said.
But the tubes are not the only way to make a profit.
Many of the tubes sell for around $15 to $20 each.
The main drawback to the tubes is they are usually too fragile to handle, and can’t be reused.
“If it gets damaged in a crash it’s really hard to replace it,” Krys said.
“And we’re not really equipped to handle a big fire.”
But for many people, the idea of using the tubes for decorative purposes is not only appealing, but also affordable.
Krys said the tubes have been used for everything from Christmas lights to decorations and even toys.
“Some of them can be made out of recycled plastic, and they’re just great for children’s toys,” he said, adding they are also “beautiful” in their own right.
“They are actually really easy to work with,” he added.
The trend has been gaining popularity in recent years, with some companies offering products including spiraled pencils and spiraled chalkboards.
However, Krys cautioned that while they are generally well made, there is no guarantee the tubes will last for decades.
“The tubes are fragile and you can have a bad one,” he warned.
“You can get damaged easily.”