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How Your Recycling Might Be Causing Cockroaches

Gathering of cockroaches on a cardboard box

Most people know that recycling is the responsible thing to do, whenever possible. Tossing glass, plastic, paper, and cardboard into the recycling bin keeps it from ending up in a landfill. But, if you’re storing cardboard boxes in your home before taking them to be recycled, you could be attracting cockroaches in the process.

Unfortunately, cockroaches are attracted to cardboard. Having boxes around could essentially be inviting them to “stay awhile.”

Thankfully, you can make a few changes to how you store your boxes before recycling that will keep the gross pests from coming in and making themselves at home.

So, why do cockroaches like cardboard, anyway? Essentially, cardboard boxes provide them with room and board. You’ve probably heard that cockroaches can (and will) eat just about anything, and cardboard is no exception.

Most of today’s boxes are made of plant-based material. Because roaches are constantly looking for food sources, boxes can be appealing. Beyond that, however, they provide shelter.

Cockroaches are nocturnal and tend to hide out in dark places, especially during the day. What sounds more inviting than a cardboard box nestled in the house or garage? It’s especially inviting if the cardboard is wet, as that makes it easier for the cockroaches to eat and break down, the same way they break down plants in nature and turn them into helpful waste for the soil.

But, you don’t want helpful waste in your house.

So, what can you do to store your cardboard boxes properly? How can you keep them in a safe place until recycling day without attracting roaches?

First, make sure you’re keeping them in dry places. Again—wet boxes are more attractive to cockroaches, so low-moisture areas will always be better.

Rubbermaid Commercial Products, Recycling Bin/Box for Paper and Packaging

Break down your boxes and store them safely to keep roaches away.

Additionally, make sure you’re not storing the boxes in places that are prone to insects. If you’ve noticed things like ants, spiders, or roaches somewhere, keep the boxes away! Consider storing them in an area of the home that is clean and significantly “away” from entrances where bugs could be getting in. Keeping them in the garage might be the easiest option, but you’re likely to see more insects and moisture there, so it’s not the best for keeping roaches at bay.

You shouldn’t stop recycling your cardboard boxes or get rid of them right away to avoid roaches. But, make sure you understand the attraction, so you can store them in the safest, dryest places that won’t attract pests.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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