When you order pizza in, how do you normally dispose of the box after you’ve eaten all of the contents inside? While the answer may seem obvious for some, we can guarantee the same belief isn’t held among all. In fact, a study backed by Domino’s suggests that more people are getting rid of their empty pizza boxes the wrong way than you may think.
The beloved pizza chain recently launched a brand new website that was made just to remind pizza lovers everywhere that pizza boxes are recyclable, no matter how greasy they may be on the inside.
“There is great inconsistency and confusion regarding the recyclability of pizza boxes. Pizza boxes are technically recyclable,” it says on the website. “They are made from the same material as a corrugated [cardboard] box, which has an average recovery rate for recycling of 92 [percent]. However, in the past, some paper mills and others in the recycling industry have expressed concerns about accepting them because of fear of food contamination.”
The study, which was commissioned by Domino’s box supplier, WestRock, found that many pizza boxes aren’t recycled likely because about 73% of community recycling programs across the country don’t make it clear whether or not a grease-laden box can be recycled with cardboard boxes from an Amazon order, for example.
Still, pizza boxes make up 1.7% of the 35.9 million tons of these corrugated boxes produced in the U.S. each year. As WestRock points out, grease and cheese are often thought to be a reason to not recycle the box, with a common fear being that they contaminate the fibers of the cardboard box to a point beyond repair. However, after assessing the grease content in pizza boxes, WestRock discovered that when pizza boxes with high grease (and cheese) concentrations are blended with boxes that have lower concentrations in the recycle stream, they are in fact salvageable.
In short, no matter how much delicious residue is left behind on your pizza box, know that it still deserves a spot in the recycling bin. If you want to skip the pizza box altogether, read up on 8 Healthy Homemade Pizzas Better Than Takeout for inspiration on how to make your own delicious pizza pie at home.