To celebrate International Pizza Day tomorrow, we're demystifying a question that many of us had at some point: should you recycle pizza boxes?
While they are generally recyclable, the recyclability of a pizza box depends on the materials used in its production and whether it is free from food contamination.
There are 3 factors to consider:
Pizza boxes are typically made from corrugated cardboard, which is recyclable. However, some pizza boxes may have additional features like a plastic lining that makes them more grease-resistant. In such cases, the plastic lining needs to be separated from the cardboard before recycling.
The main concern with recycling pizza boxes is food contamination. If the box is heavily covered with grease, cheese or other food residues, it can contaminate the recycling stream. Greasy cardboard is more difficult to recycle, as the grease can interfere with the pulping process and reduce the quality of the recycled material. We recommend tearing off and recycling the clean parts of the box.
Recycling guidelines vary by location, so we suggest checking with your borough to understand their specific requirements. Some recycling facilities may accept pizza boxes with minimal grease, while others may prefer you discard them in general waste.
In a nutshell, pizza cardboard boxes can be recycled if they are clean and uncontaminated. If in doubt, it's always a good idea to contact your local recycling facility for specific guidance on how you should recycle pizza boxes.
Want to recycle something else? We have some answers from a waste expert.