Blog Post

Are Pizza Boxes Recyclable?

Food packaging comprises tons of waste in landfills every year. One thing that’s worse than sending recyclable materials to the landfill is sending dirty, non-recyclable products into the recycling stream.

Pizza boxes are often thought to be universally recyclable. After all, they’re usually made of corrugated cardboard which is one of the most easily recycled paper products. While pizza boxes may be thought to be as easily recycled, food residue that soaks into the material can complicate its value. Greasy pizza boxes are always considered to be landfill waste.

When food waste on paper and plastic products makes its way into the recycling stream, it can contaminate entire batches of recyclable material.

At Rumpke, we work hard to educate our customers about our recycling programs. When you’re ready to get started, count on us to help you learn more about local recycling guidelines so you can support our recycling processes.

Can you recycle empty pizza boxes?

Empty pizza box for Rumpke recyclingEmpty pizza boxes can be recycled if they’re clean and not saturated with sauce, oil, or cheese.

If your pizza box is coated with oil, sauce, cheese, etc., it renders those parts of the cardboard non-recyclable. 

If the top and sides of your pizza box have not come into contact with the pizza, it’s likely that they are still clean. You can make an extra effort and cut the clean cardboard away from the dirty cardboard. By separating the non-recyclable material from the clean cardboard, you can make a small difference and help reduce landfill waste.

Regional rules for pizza box disposal 

Rumpke can accept clean pizza boxes in its recycling facilities. We can help you learn more about specific guidelines in your area when you contact us to get started.

Can I recycle a frozen pizza box?

Pizzas purchased from the freezer section at the grocery store or from a local retailer are often shrink-wrapped in plastic. The plastic bag protection reduces the likelihood that cheese and oils are ever in direct contact with the cardboard. If you can separate the plastic-wrapped pizza from the box without dirtying the cardboard, your clean pizza box can easily be recycled.

Are pizza boxes compostable?

Food scraps in a composting bin must be layered with dry matter. Clean pizza boxes can often be torn and shredded for this purpose. Avoid shredding and reusing pizza boxes that are saturated with grease, as the oils can affect the quality and nutritional balance of the organics in your compost pile.

How to properly dispose of a pizza box

When you’re ready to dispose of your cardboard pizza box or are considering pizza box recycling, follow the following steps:

  • Check for signs of grease, oil, sauce, or cheesy debris. Any dirty material must be set aside for trash collection.
  • If the top of the pizza box if it is clean, cut it away from the bottom of the box and recycle the clean pieces.
  • You can also tear the clean cardboard into shreds and use it as dry matter in your composting bin.

Trust Rumpke for regular trash and recycling pickup

We understand that a simple recycling process is easier to adopt. Rumpke has made significant investments to make recycling easy and convenient for you. We offer curbside recycling and public recycling drop boxes throughout our service regions and work hard to keep our communities clean. Once your trash has been picked up, we think you’ll be pleased with our services.

We provide residential and commercial trash collection, as well as single-stream recycling services for homeowners and business owners. Additionally, Rumpke welcomes customers to its drop-off sites throughout our service areas. We work hard to accept all kinds of paper products including shredded paper and cartons. Whether you’re looking to offset your household’s carbon footprint or looking to adopt green practices at the worksite, we can help provide cost-effective solutions to manage your waste.

Contact us today and we’ll provide options based on your needs.

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