Can You Recycle Your Pizza Boxes

What is America’s next staple food? We all know the answer! Shout out for pizzas! Statistics say that over 40% of Americans consume pizza weekly, and the percentage shifts to 95% when calculating for a month. There’s no harm in liking it or savoring it. In fact, life is all about enjoying these tiny bits of happiness. The question is after you have enjoyed your delicious pizza, where do the boxes go? Can You Recycle Your Pizza Boxes? They probably in the trash outside, waiting to be carried to the dumpster. Then what happens? They burn and emit harmful carbon dioxide. It’s not happening everywhere. But in most scenarios, they do burn. 

Recently, the FDA banned some chemicals that are used for making pizza boxes. These chemicals were meant to keep your pizzas tasty and cheesy, but these boxes are harmful to your health. Now, imagine what happens when these chemical infused boxes burn? With thousands of pizza boxes disposed of every week, things can get hazardous for Mother Nature. The number of trees cut down for pizza boxes are not less in number. If you don’t initiate yourself on taking the first step, how can you expect the world to be a better place? This is high time you learned about pizza boxes recycling policies. In this way, you’ll be making your world a safer place for you and the upcoming generation.  

The conflict between recycling and not recycling pizza boxes:

 Some people support pizza box recycling, while others don’t. The answer is both yes and no. Yes, they’re made from recyclable cardboard boxes, but only the top part is suitable for recycling. The lower part containing food scarps, oil, and grease cause severe recycling hindrances. Therefore, stick on recycling the top or non-greasy part of the pizza box. The greasy part covered with food scraps should go to the garbage. If cutting a cardboard box is not your forte, then send the whole thing for compost. Recycling will be a better option.

Why cannot the greasy cardboard boxes go for recycling?

The very first step is to undergo heat processes in controlled conditions. When elements like glass, plastics, and metals undergo the process, and food scraps get burnt easily. There are next to no waste food scraps left that can disrupt the recycling process.

On the other hand, paper and cardboard recycling is a completely different story. You guessed it right! They cannot go through heat processes, and we all know why! Papers and cardboard will be left in ashes. Instead, they’re combined together to form a pulp. The greasy parts and food scraps are still pre4sent. Next, these pulps are sorted based on types and grades and are stored for a long time. Then what happens? The food scraps and greasy parts attract rodents and insects. A question may arise why not control these issues with insecticides? But will you be willing to get your takeaways in an insecticide infused box or buy papers that are infused with harsh chemicals? Then again, all insects and animals have been controlled somehow still the greasy parts will cause problems. 

In the next step, the pulp is taken to a washing phase to remove any unwanted inks, logos, staples, etc. Soapy water and chemicals are used in the washing phase. If you have ever tried washing a greasy dish, you know how hard it gets. Trying to remove grease from the paper is the worst thing one can ever do. These grease and food chunks just hinder the whole recycling process. Oil and food scraps will actively float on the top, and the pulp fiber will be completely invisible. It gets very hard trying to separate the washed papers and cardboard boxes. The whole batch is then ruined, and the whole process was futile! The next thing we know will be this batch will also be burning in fire. End of story! Never send the greasy pizza boxes for recycling. 

What about the frozen pizza boxes too?

Depending on the material, frozen pizza boxes can be recycled.

1. Paperboard material:

That’s a big NO! These frozen boxes are made from plastic-glazed paperboard. They’re layered with thin plastic. This coating is very effective for frozen snacks as they lock moisture, prevents freezer burns, and protect your pizzas. Yes, the plastic coating is doing a lot for your frozen pizzas, but preventing the pizza boxes from getting recycled. The local haulers can sometimes accept them.

2. Mixed-Material:

Paperboards that are coated with a poly lining are used here. They can be easily recycled. Haulers don’t take them due to the coating. Poly-coating makes the recycling process a bit difficult. Waste management companies with hydro-pulping technology gladly accept this kind of mixed material boxes. 

3. Cardboard Materials:

The cardboard boxes for frozen pizza are wax-coated. These boxes can be compared to poly-coated paperboards, but they come off easier than the poly-coated boxes. These boxes are also not recyclable. But the good news is these kinds of boxes are compostable. 

Things to know before recycling pizza boxes:

Now that we know that pizza boxes are recyclable to some extent, we should ensure they reach the right authorities. Before disposing of your pizza box, make sure of the following things about your area:

1. Understand the rules:

Before sending the pizza boxes away for recycling, know the rules of your community or municipality. Many areas come with their own recycling bins and contribute to waste management. It’s to be noted that not all municipal areas accept pizza boxes for recycling as they’re considered a tough cookie. 

2. Research the recycling policies:

Don’t just go in the recycling bin and toss out your waste pizza boxes. Do your research. Did you know many countries stopped placing recycling boxes due to wish-cycling? If you’re throwing non-recyclable pizza boxes, then they’re going to cause some major disasters in the recycling process. Always be sure of what goes into the recycling bin. 

3. Inspect the pizza boxes:

Turn on your detective’s eyes before disposing of your pizza boxes. We are glad your municipality accepts pizza boxes, but that doesn’t mean you’ll turn on the greasy, oily parts too! It just destroys the whole purpose of recycling. To remove the food scarps or the grease if possible. Otherwise, just cut those parts and throw them in the trash. 

Be the change:

So, what if your area is not facilitated enough to recycle pizza boxes? There is no reason to give up hope. You can still save your planet by being the change. Yes, you can set up a pizza recycling station! Doesn’t it feel amazing? Follow the steps mentioned below to set up your own pizza recycling station:

  • Contact the nearest recycling station, which accepts pizza boxes. The number is not less.
  • Grab a recycling bin of the perfect shape. A circular bin makes no sense for squared pizza boxes.
  • Make the bin distinct by labeling it with the “For Pizzas Only” sign.
  • Place the bin in a highly-populated area or in an area with high-traffic.
  • Communicate the purpose of your pizza recycling station to everyone within the facility
  • Continue to impart the purpose of the pizza recycling station. 
  • Make sure the boxes are reaching the right authorities.

The path to setting up a pizza recycling station will not be easy, we know! It’s not easy to reach the right authorities or grab their attention etc. Once your purpose has been accomplished, the world will get a lot better with zero pollution. 

Additional steps for recycling pizza boxes:

Don’t worry if your municipal area does not recycle pizza boxes. There are other things you can do like:

1. Reusing the Pizza Boxes:

What happens when you try making a homemade pizza? There is never a big enough plate. The used pizza boxes can come in handy then. You can serve your delicious homemade pizza in the box and relish it from there. Do remember to clean the box at first, though. We don’t want you to get sick. 

2. Taking the boxes to the right place:

It sounds weird! If you truly love your planet and want to save it from pollution, you can take the used pizza boxes to the right authorities. You’re going out, so why not take away the boxes too and reach the nearest pizza box recycling station? But throw it sensibly.

3. DIY crafts:

The boxes used for pizzas are very good articles for expressing your artistic mindset. There are so many things you can make out of a pizza box, like a DIY drawer, photo frames, scrapbooks, storage boxes, toy tennis courts, etc. These boxes also provide a stable base for painting. Pizza boxes can be defined in ways to modify your Halloween outlook. 

Do pizza boxes decompose?

Don’t just throw your pizza boxes in the streets and make the soil infertile. Cardboard pizza boxes can take as long as 90 days to decompose in ideal conditions. For inhospitable situations, it can take years for a simple cardboard pizza box to decompose. If the cardboard box is soaked or shredded in garden conditions, it will take at least three months to biodegrade. For frozen pizza boxes, none of the conditions are applicable. It can take over 100 years for plastics to decompose. If you don’t want to affect the fertility of the soil, and want plants to grow, stop throwing the boxes outside. 

What to do when recycling pizza boxes is not an option?

Amidst a million types of pizza boxes, not all of them are recyclable. Instead of dumping them in the trash can, there’s an easy thing you can do. You can compost them, and this works for almost all types of pizza boxes. If you live in New York or San Francisco, if you come across an organic recycling station, then that’s your cue for pizza box compost. In this way, all the paper materials like the box, napkins, and tiny bits of pizza scraps everything can be tossed in an organic bin for compost. 

Unfortunately for frozen pizza boxes, the conditions still remain the same. Plastic, wax, etc. coating prevents the boxes from undergoing the composting process. These things are non-biodegradable. Then again, if the frozen pizza box is coated with soya-bean, feel free to compost it.

Greasy Boxes and Compost:

It’s not actually a wise idea to recycle the greasy pizza boxes. Instead, it’s better if they’re composted. Cut the boxes into several pieces and find the nearest organic bin. If you don’t see any organic stations around, simply compost them mixing them with the paperboard box. The greasy frozen pizza boxes cannot still be composted. The frozen pizza boxes are becoming a nightmare for environmentalists! 

Compost in the house:

Organic compost bins are still not that popular. In such cases, you can compost the pizza boxes in your lovely home if you have the right elements. This method is especially effective for the greasy, oily pizza boxes. The process is not even hard. Simply cut the pizza box into several small pieces and bury them with nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Put a top coating of fertile soil, and after a few days, see the results. 

Your Steps:

Here are some steps that you can take to reduce the pressure on pizza boxes:

  • Stick to homemade pizzas
  • Eat pizzas at the restaurant
  • Stay away from frozen pizzas
  • Dispose of the boxes in a disposable manner

Bottom Line:

There is no doubt that pizzas are the most favorite food in the world. Yet, we cannot deny the effect these things are hard to recycle. If you want to save the trees and the natural ores of your earth, recycle or compost the pizza boxes accordingly. Save the planet and its resources!

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