Can You Recycle Pizza Boxes? Here's what to do
You can recycle pizza boxes for reuse, but there are a few things you should know before you throw them away. Perhaps the most important is that some of these boxes are made of corrugated cardboard, one of the most accessible materials to recycle. But this procedure is not always possible, especially when pizza boxes are full of grease.
Today, there are measures in place to ensure that the recycling process in the United States is carried out efficiently since this is where most pizza is consumed, and the most boxes for the storage of this biscuit are produced. Today we leave you with some useful tips on how to efficiently recycle pizza boxes.
So, are pizza boxes recyclable?
According to statistics provided by the United States Packaging Board, more pizza is eaten in the United States than in other countries such as Italy, which is where this delicious food originated. Their estimates report that more than 3,000 billion boxes are produced per year to package pizzas. Undoubtedly, this represents up to 6,000 tons of cardboard.
In view of the amount of material used and the need to recycle as a measure to protect the environment, the following question arises: Can You Recycle Pizza Boxes? Here is the answer:
- Pizza boxes can be recycled as long as they are not full of grease. If they are too wet, they can hardly be reused.
- Not all recycling companies accept pizza boxes to start the process. For the same reason, you should investigate which companies to go to in order to deposit the used cardboard from your pizza factory.
- Studies have shown that not all pizza boxes are clean enough to be recycled. According to data, most of the used cardboard that enters the company has 2% accumulated grease, which is acceptable. When the grease level is around 20%, the material becomes so soft that it is impossible to process.
- What happens if the pizza box contains cheese residue? Absolutely nothing. The cheese adhering to the carton can be processed, as this dairy food solidifies in the box. In the middle of the process, it is filtered with the intention of converting the carton into pulp.
- The cardboard from the pizza boxes can be reused and recycled up to 7 times.
What do you need to know to recycle used pizza boxes?
There are certain recycling rules you should know before you start the process. But also, there are useful tips you need to know to achieve greater effectiveness when disposing of used cardboard to store your pizzas.
1. Each city has recycling regulations
The first step is to study the recycling regulations that exist in your city of residence or in the city where you want to dispose of old pizza boxes. You will probably find guidelines for a safe and effective recycling process. Make sure the standard includes pizza boxes for recycling.
In some cities like New York, for example, you can recycle pizza boxes. But they will be received at the specific companies as long as you have removed the dirty liner, for example. What do the laws in your city say? Find out and contribute to the process.
2. Check the box thoroughly
If you know your city's recycling regulations, take a look at the box to check the level of adhering oil or grease. This substance covers most of the paper fibers, so removing it is quite complicated.
When glass, plastic, or metal is recycled for reuse, it includes a heating process to remove any residue quickly and safely. The same is not true for cardboard. When sorted, cardboard is sent to the paper company.
If it has grease or food residue on it, it can be an attraction for insects and animals that could harm the item. Once sorted, the cardboard is combined with water to form a pulp. But if it contains oil, this substance rises to the surface and negatively interferes with the process.
3. Compostable or reusable boxes
Many companies in the food sector are experimenting with the production of compostable packaging. The initiative stems from overflowing landfills and poor recycling policies in some regions of the United States. Even so, the market has not fully embraced this system because of the costs involved.
The fact is that the production of compostable containers or boxes requires a specialized industrial process, which not all companies have.
Now, many models of reusable boxes have also been designed. But so far they have not become popular with the food industry, especially in the United States.
What can be done to avoid using so many pizza boxes?
There is a method recommended by some specialists to reduce the use of pizza boxes. It is to get into the habit of baking them at home more often. In this way, you will reduce the use of cardboard to its maximum expression.
Making them at home could be quite fun, especially if you include more family members during its elaboration. Moreover, it is much healthier, unlike pizzas in any commercial establishment.
Another advantage of preparing pizzas at home is that you can add whatever toppings you want. Use all your creativity to customize them. In this way, you will achieve a better presentation and eat a portion, according to your needs and requirements.
There are some recommendations for recycling used cardboard, which are:
- It is possible to compost the boxes after eating the pizza. Chop them into pieces and throw them into your home compost. This material will degrade in at least 90 days.
- Burning the boxes? This is not a recommended option, since they include a series of chemicals that could spread in the environment when in contact with fire. Therefore, your health may be compromised.
Recycling the cartons derived from a pizza box is possible as long as you follow some recommendations. Find out the recycling regulations in your city to know how to carry out the procedure. It is important that the material is as non-greasy as possible to facilitate recycling. But if you want to reduce the use of cardboard, it is best to make your pizzas at home.