Are Pizza Boxes Recyclable?: And What You Knead To Know!
Are Pizza Boxes Recyclable?: We all want to do the right thing when it comes to recycling.
But unfortunately some items aren’t as easy to recycle – and pizza boxes are one of these.
You may be unaware that your favourite pizza and the box that it comes with are an unlikely pairing.
Here’s why – pizza boxes, for the most part, are made of corrugated cardboard.
And if you’re just dumping the entire empty box after enjoying a slice – or two perhaps?
You may be doing more harm than good, without even realising it.
In addition, it is a known fact that food waste is a major source of contaminants in paper recycling.
More specifically, grease and oil are two of the worst culprits that can contaminate pizza boxes.
Which ultimately becomes a hindrance to the paper recycling process.
Contamination of just a single pizza box is tantamount to rendering an entire batch of paper recycling completely futile.
Paper Recycling Process: And the consequence of contamination!
Let’s take a look at how paper and cardboard recycling works – and where recyclable pizza boxes enter the picture.
Paper recycling is a whole different story because paper doesn’t get heated during its recycling process.
Grease and oil, combined with the pulp, can ruin a certain batch.
Once your paper and cardboard are sorted into grades and types, they move on to the paper mill.
They may spend weeks in storage, where food particles and grease can turn rancid and attract insects or animals.
By mixing in water – a semi-liquid mixture or “slurry” comes into fruition.
That’s where your greasy pizza box comes into the picture!
If you’ve ever washed something full of grease or oil, you know that it’s quite painstaking to remove it completely.
Once in the slurry, the remaining oil floats to the top.
Unavoidably, it becomes impossible to separate the oil from the paper fibers at this point.
Depending on what type of paper product and how much contamination occurs, an entire batch may be ruined.
Are Pizza Boxes Recyclable?: And what’s important to remember!
Are pizza boxes recyclable? There is no easy answer to the question as it varies from one locality to another in Australia.
Australian councils have different waste management companies which sequentially have different rules and mandates.
With pizza boxes there’s a big risk that there will be food and grease.
So a lot of Australian councils are saying no to pizza boxes.
Pizza boxes made from cardboard are inherently recyclable – meaning to a degree, pizzas boxes are recyclable.
But they may impose a problem because of contamination issues.
It is important to recognise that the crux of the matter is when contamination comes into play.
Simply put, once soiled, the paper cannot be recycled.
Because the paper fibers will not separate from the oils during the pulping process.
Too much grease and oil can influence the quality of the pulped cardboard.
And this could ruin a batch of potentially reusable paper.
During recycling of paper, mixing it with water is the initial step.
Turning the combo into a slurry, where the oil residues then rise to the top.
Separating paper fibers from the oils is virtually impossible – it can cause problems with the fibers binding.
Essentially, it can compromise and ruin the whole recycling batch.
How to recycle contaminated pizza boxes?
In theory, recycling is a relatively straightforward concept.
In the long run, an increase in the success rate of pizza boxes that are recyclable is our endgame.
So, how do you know whether a pizza box is too greasy to recycle?
When in doubt, always remember to err on the side of not recycling it.
To avoid contamination of clean materials, cut off the clean tops of your pizza boxes.
Afterwards, you can send the bottoms of your pizza boxes to the trash.
Remember that it only takes one greasy box to ruin a batch of potentially reusable paper.
After recycling the top portion of your box, you can throw it in the garbage or – even better – compost it!
To compost a pizza box, you need to break it into smaller pieces and place it in your compost bin.
Food and grease-ridden paper items are capable of disintegrating and will break down over time.
Check with your local recycling programs to find out more about the policies in your respective locales and municipalities.
Although most do not allow them, some allow boxes with minimal grease for recycling.
While others allow them to mingle it in with compost.
Bottom Line: And a bit about Waster
Discrepancies regarding recycling comes in varying senses of urgency and magnitude.
From modest recyclable pizza boxes to more grandiose worldwide recycling schemes and initiatives.
Regardless of which, each of us has the potential and capability to extend a helping hand to Mother Nature.
Starting with awareness of how our actions impact our environment is always a good first step to keep in mind.
Knowing what works for us in terms of recycling is the very essence or most important point at issue.
Putting to heart know-hows as regards waste segregation and management, we can surmount whatever comes our way.
Always remember that any and every succeeding steps are in the palm of your hand.
Waster provides services to small and medium Australian businesses.
We are a waste and recycling services business with distinct differences.
Our focus is on two main things – helping businesses reduce their costs and also boosting recycling!
For further information please visit waster.com.au.