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Can You Recycle Pizza Boxes? How Do You Properly Dispose of Them?

Open empty cardboard pizza box. after meal

Most people are pizza lovers and enjoy this quick and convenient meal, especially those in the US. Americans enjoy pizza so much that it may even be the nation’s favorite food! Since eating pizza is such a common habit, we should all be aware of the proper ways to recycle leftover cardboard boxes. Since these boxes are made entirely out of paper, you can safely recycle them. When recycling pizza boxes, there are some rules to keep in mind, such as removing any food scraps that may interfere with the process.

Continue reading to find out more essential details about recycling pizza boxes and the proper ways to do so.

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Are Pizza Boxes Recyclable?

Pizza boxes were at first thought to be unsuitable for recycling. People were continuously throwing away pizza boxes without the realization of their value. There were opinions that leftover scraps on the cardboard box, such as grease and cheese, made the pizza box unrecyclable. To understand why this theory is wrong, we must clarify the confusion and provide some facts. The real question is whether cheese and grease can negatively impact the recycling process of pizza boxes.

Cheese, a mixture of fats and proteins, is not a concern when recycling cardboard. Cheese is hydrophilic and cannot disrupt the inter-fiber bonding of fibers. If any cheese is left over on the cardboard when recycled, it will undoubtedly be screened out in the pulping process once it solidifies.

On the other hand, grease is hydrophobic and interferes with inter-fiber bonding, resulting in a significant loss of paper strength. While this may sound like an important issue, the loss is very low if its concentration is under 10%. The typical grease level on pizza boxes received in the recycling facility is below 2%, making this a minor issue.

Pizza Boxes
Image Credit: Hans, Pixabay

Importance of Recycling Pizza Boxes

Pizza is undoubtedly one of America’s favorite foods, and with such a vast number of consumers, the footprint should be minimal. Recycling the cardboard pizza box is incredibly important for the environment and society. Consumers and pizza lovers must understand that the box is entirely recyclable as long as all the food scraps are removed. Many recycling facilities encourage people to recycle pizza boxes and contribute to a healthier environment.

How to Properly Dispose of Pizza Boxes

It is essential to know how to recycle certain materials properly to become a conscientious part of a society that takes care of the environment. Here are a few tips on recycling pizza boxes correctly and setting up a personal pizza recycling station at or near your home.

  • Find a suitable and large enough bin for the recycling station.
  • Label the bin, so it clearly shows its only purpose—recycling pizza boxes only.
  • Place the bin in a high-traffic area near your home or apartment, where multiple households or members of your household can participate and contribute.
  • Promote recycling around your neighborhood and explain its importance.

Alternatively, you can compost pizza boxes pretty easily if you have a compost heap, and even use them as mulch before planting vegetables. Just make sure they are fairly well broken down before planting—this will usually take a few weeks.

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Final Thoughts

Since pizza boxes are such a frequent occurrence in everyday trash bins across America, the importance of recycling the boxes is significant. Once most consumers realize the importance of being responsible when recycling, they will create their personalized recycling station made specifically for pizza boxes. This process is fun, healthy, rewarding, and greatly benefits the individual and society.

Featured Image Credit: ViDCan, Shutterstock


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