Understanding the “Greasy Truth”
Posted by: Katie Raverty | Filed Under: Uncategorized

It’s National Pizza Day 🍕

Typically, cardboard can be thrown in your recycling container and recycle many times, but pizza boxes are the exception.

Whether you prefer plain cheese, veggies, or pineapple toppings, for pizza lovers, February 9 is your day!  It’s National Pizza Day. Each year about 3 billion pizzas are sold in the United States. With all that pizza comes a lot of cardboard pizza boxes. Typically, cardboard can be thrown in your recycling container and recycled many times, but pizza boxes are the exception.

Quite often, pizzas print the recycling symbol on their cardboard boxes, encouraging hungry customers to throw them in the recycling bin. Unfortunately, this is misleading.

When greasy toppings, oily crust, and sauces end up on the pizza box, the cardboard is considered contaminated and should be placed in your garbage can and not your recycling container. The same applies to cardboard boxes for kids’ meals at certain fast-food restaurants, paper plates, paper towels, and napkins.

Food is one of the worst contaminants in the paper recycling process. When this material is recycled, it is mixed with water and turned into a slurry or semi-liquid mixture. Grease from soiled paper products does not mix well with the water and a layer of oil is formed on the slurry. This oil cannot be separated from the fibers that make up paper products. The result is the entire batch of paper fibers is ruined by this oily contaminant.

The good news is, clean portions of the pizza box can be cut off and thrown in your recycling bin. The contaminated sections should always be placed in with your garbage.