Why TikTok's Trick For Breaking Down Boxes In A Snap May Not Be The Best Idea

TikTok is full of great ideas for anything to do with home upkeep and care, but sometimes a popular trend just misses the mark. While a hack might seem useful or easy, it could be too good to be true. The cardboard breakdown tip that has been circulating should probably fall into the "don't bother" category, mainly because of the issues it can cause with your recycle company. In recent TikTok videos, people have been spraying their used cardboard boxes with water to break them down quickly, but this is a big no-no when it comes to recycling guidelines. Wet boxes are considered not fit for your blue bins, and soaking this material will render it useless. This even includes pizza and cereal boxes, as well as any other cardboard you have around the house.

According to Republic Services, "no wet or soiled materials" will be accepted during cardboard recycle pickup. This is due to the fact that any wet cardboard runs the risk of damaging the machines used to break it down. This, in turn, can ruin the other material inside the machine, rendering everything unusable and causing the entire batch to be thrown out. Recycle companies even encourage people to protect cardboard due for the recycle center from rain and inclement weather, ensuring it stays dry until pickup.

Cardboard recycle tips

When it comes to breaking down cardboard, the surest way leans into the traditional route of flattening them out before putting them in your bin. Make sure to remove tape or any other stickers that you can, which is not only appreciated by recycle center workers but helps streamline the overall recycling process. If your boxes or other cardboard materials do get wet, just throw them away in your general garbage cans. While it may seem wasteful, these pieces can't be salvaged and will only create issues once they've been collected.

Flattening your cardboard will leave more room for you to fill your recycle bin, and also aids workers with their job. Stack pieces as neatly as possible, or place them vertically in a row rather than just chucking things in the bin as you go. Keep your recycle basket and bin somewhere with a roof or in the garage so it is less likely to get wet — this will help you continue to do your part to save the environment while also helping the recycling team collect useful pieces. Lastly, reuse cardboard boxes and materials whenever you can. Getting as much use out of them as possible is a sustainable option for both you and the planet! There are plenty of cardboard hacks to try, just avoid this one unless you want to end up with more waste.