A Slice of Goodness: The Importance of Recycling Pizza Boxes

Photograph: Shutterstock

Pizza night is a great tradition in many American householdsand this year, an especially popular option for consumers staying home or scaling back on restaurant dining during COVID-19 restrictions. And now, pizza lovers have one more reason to feel good about embracing pizza night. It is now official and agreed uponpizza boxes are recyclable.

The news, released last month by the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA), corrects a common misconception: the belief that cheese and grease stuck to the boxes would negatively impact recyclability. A study by WestRock, an AF&PA and Fibre Box Association (FBA) member company, found that typical amounts of cheese and grease are acceptable, and paper mills that recycle boxes concurred.

Industry agreement clears the way for positive action to increase recovery of old corrugated containers (OCC) in recycling programs. There are approximately 3 billion pizza boxes used in the U.S. each year, which represents an estimated 600,000 tons of highly desired corrugated material that should be recycled and not needlessly wasted. 

To help spread the word on pizza box recycling, several organizations have made information and tools available to help consumers, pizza purveyors, cities, towns and recyclers get on board with recycling pizza boxes. Below are links to information that can help share this slice of goodness:

• The Recycling Partnership’s Pizza Box Recycling Toolkit
• Domino’s Recycle My Pizza Box
• AF&PA’s Pizza Box Recycling Page

More than 90% of the corrugated produced each year is successfully recovered for recycling, but the shift from retail/restaurants to home delivery moves more boxes to households and out of the well-established, commercial recovery stream. Collecting pizza boxes in residential recycling programs will make more recovered fiber available for manufacturing new boxes—needed to support the viability of all supply chains, in all industries, which rely on boxes to transport products of all kinds. 

And that’s a slice for goodness for consumers, the supply chain and the planet.

For more information, click here.

This post is sponsored by Fibre Box Association


Get today’s need-to-know grocery industry intelligence. Sign up to receive texts from Winsight Grocery Business.