Are pizza boxes recyclable? Yes, they can be recycled – and here’s why. A large percentage of the pizza boxes are made of corrugated cardboard.
However, you can’t recycle all pizza boxes, as some reports would have readers believe. The issue with recycling takeaway pizza boxes is the greasy residue on these corrugated card packaging.
These oil stains are responsible for spelling trouble when trying to recycle the pizza boxes. Each year, plants reject a sheer number of cardboard due to contamination with lots of oil. Hence, they end up being used in landfills or incinerated.
To avoid this fate, we’ll discuss ways to use contaminated pizza boxes, prevent contaminating these cardboards, and dispose of the contaminated ones.
Table of Contents
Recycling Pizza Boxes – the science behind it
The recycling process is a simple one involving shredding the cardboard at the material recovery facility or recycling plant. The shredded pizza boxes are then made into a pulp by mixing it with a solution of bleaching agents, detergent, and water.
The end product, pulp, is turned into different paper products from fresh pizza boxes to magazines and newspapers. This mechanism has been used for years to get rid of staples, ink, and sticky tape without a fuss.
However, contaminated cardboard poses a tricky problem with too much of an issue. The grease has a molecular structure causing it to cling and coat everything leading to low-quality recycled paper. Sadly, it’s not useful and ends up in the trash bin.
Also, the cling grease might have an adverse effect on recycling equipment. The process involves using cold water, which won’t break the grease molecule down. Hence, having a detrimental effect on this recycling equipment.
This doesn’t translate to your pizza box ending up in the trash, though.
Remove the Food
The simplest way to determine the condition of your takeaway box is to remove the clumps of cheese or other falling off toppings. These can really be a bit tough to do, but it’s necessary to pick them out.
This assessment allows you to make a better judgment of the status of the cardboard and determine if it’s fit for recycling. Boxes with a small amount of oil can be removed by soaking them up with a kitchen towel or napkin.
These little oil drops shouldn’t be a problem. Also, you want to ensure you get rid of any crust left in the takeaway pizza box – if you don’t want your cardboard destined for the waste bin.
On the other hand, if the cardboard is too contaminated with grease, then it’s far from being recyclable. However, you don’t have to throw it out. It’s best to tear the contaminated cardboard into smaller pieces and toss them into a compost bin.
You can also read: How Long Does Pizza Last In the Box? – Pizza Store Guide!
Recycle the Pizza Box Lids
Not all parts of the pizza box are usually contaminated, especially the top section. Usually, the bottom part finds itself in the waste or compost bin. This does not mean the lids should end up with the same fate.
The easiest way to do this is to check for any grease contamination on the lid. Most times, the top part is clear and ready to be recycled. It’s better to recycle the lids rather than tossing the good, recyclable part with the contaminated boxes.
These takeaway boxes feature open holes on their rear-side panel to help regulate the pizza’s temperature during transport. These holes help prevent condensation inside the box, which could lead to soggy meals and build-up of the safest part of the cardboard – the lid.
Ways to Reuse Takeaway Boxes
One of the best ways to cut back on this cardboard is to try to make your favorite pizza at home. It’s usually healthier and more economical to make your favorite meal at home. Contrary to what you may believe, homemade pizzas are fun, easy to make, and worth making at home. There are a lot of ways to make pizza at home and easy-to-follow recipes for beginners to try out.
However, to manage your concerning footprint, it’s best to engage in your DIY projects requiring you to use cardboard. You can check online for easy projects to get creative with your takeaway boxes that won’t be time-consuming or tricky.
How to Dispose of Pizza Boxes?
There are several ways to dispose of your contaminated pizza boxes. While they might no longer be fit for recycling, there are plenty of options to prevent dumping them in the bin.
Check with your local recycling facilities before assuming these takeaway pizza boxes are not fit for recycling. The lid should be accepted, and the bottom is not too contaminated with grease.
It’s best to recycle half of the pizza box than dispose of the entire cardboard. Once you determine the unworthy cardboard, then you can place these soiled pizza boxes in your composting bin to make compost. More so, you might want to check if your city offers curbside composting – it’s easier this way.
Takeaway Pizza Boxes as Recyclable – What to Keep in Mind
We have already established the pizza boxes as recyclable. However, it’s not as straightforward as it sounds and what’s recyclable differs from one locality to another. There are different mandates and rules to guide what is thrown into the recycling equipment.
With this cardboard, there’s a big risk of contamination that might run your entire pulp. Hence, most recycling plants say no to pizza boxes. Ideally, they are recyclable, but the degree of contamination determines if these boxes will or not.
Pizza boxes made from cardboard are inherently recyclable, meaning that to a degree, pizzas boxes can indeed be recycled. Therefore, you want to be careful to ensure these takeaway boxes are not swimming in these oil and grease.
If you’ve soiled pizza boxes, you might want to turn these into compost. Also, you might want to try out making your favorite pizza at home to cut down on your pizza boxes or don’t want to go through the hassle of recycling these cardboards.
In conclusion, pizza boxes can be recycled, but there are some things to keep in mind. First, the box should be clean and free of food residue. Second, the box should be flattened before recycling. Finally, check with your local recycling center to see if they accept pizza boxes.