are pizza boxes recyclable

Pizza Boxes Are Recyclable

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WestRock is on a mission to clear the confusion about whether corrugated pizza boxes can be recycled, or not.

YES, THEY CAN!

Typical amounts of residual cheese and grease do not affect the box’s recyclability – simply empty and breakdown the box and recycle. 

We proved this by conducting a grease & cheese study –  endorsed by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) – and we commissioned a study to evaluate consumer recycling access in communities across the continental United States.

 

Partner With Us

Recycling corrugated pizza boxes undoubtedly supports the circular economy at the local, state and national levels. We’re making progress, but there’s still work to do. WestRock is partnering with our customers to help encourage consumers to recycle pizza boxes and prove once and for all that it can be done.

 

WestRock and Domino’s® partnered to print recycling messaging on their pizza boxes in August of this year, reaching hundreds of thousands of consumers every day! By reinforcing the facts and directing consumers to recycling.dominos.com via a QR code, the boxes are a key step in achieving the vision of properly informing consumers about pizza box acceptance guidelines in their community’s recycling programs. 

Dominos pizza box recycling

In addition to the information available at recycling.dominos.com, Domino’s® continues to advocate for pizza box recycling through customer outreach, social media amplification, and presentations to industry coalitions like the American Pizza Community (APC). Domino’s® is dedicated to not only supporting the circular economy through responsible packaging, but also by encouraging consumers to recycle. 

By partnering with WestRock to provide a scannable code on your branded pizza box, you can link consumers directly to your own branded Scan. Learn. Recycler. Portal where they can access their local pizza box recycling guidelines.

Recycling Facts

pizza boxes are recyclable

In the U.S., people consume an estimated three billion pizzas a year. That’s a potential of 600 000 tons of corrugated board that could be recovered and reused.

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Pizza boxes are made of high-quality corrugated paper, which can be recycled at least seven times. -American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA)

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AF&PA member companies representing 94 percent of the total annual U.S. old corrugated containers (OCC) consumption accept pizza boxes. -AF&PA

Debunking the Myth

Debunking the myth about pizza box recycling

To combat misconceptions around pizza box recycling due to the presence of residual grease and cheese in the box, WestRock conducted a study using material from one of our single-stream material recovery facilities. The AF&PA validated our findings, which concluded that typical amounts of residual grease and cheese don’t impact the quality of the recycled fiber. So, remember, the next time you get pizza, don’t trash the box! Remove any food from inside and put it in the recycling bin instead.

Download Grease And Cheese Study
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foire aux questions

Corrugated boxes are one of the most widely recycled materials on the planet. In the U.S., 96% of corrugated boxes produced are recovered for recycling. A recent study conducted by RRS found that an estimated 73% of the U.S. population has access to recycling programs for pizza boxes. 

Check your local recycling guidelines to see how you can recycle your pizza box. 

Used pizza boxes often contain grease, which, theoretically, could interfere with the bonding ability of fibers during the papermaking process. However, a study conducted by WestRock found that recycled pizza boxes at expected volumes and grease levels do not significantly impact the papermaking process.

Recycled pizza boxes are repulped at a paper mill and made into new boxes or other paper-based products.

The cardboard in old corrugated containers (OCC), including pizza boxes, can be recycled up to seven times before the quality of the fiber is degraded. Introducing boxes made with new (virgin) fiber into the recycle stream helps replenish these degraded fibers and sustain the cycle.
 

Corrugated pizza boxes are made from the same material as shipping and moving boxes, which have a 96% annual recovery rate for recycling. More than 80% of U.S. containerboard paper mills use recycled fiber from old corrugated containers (OCC).

According to AF&PA, “Corrugated pizza boxes that are free from food are widely accepted by AF&PA member company mills that accept OCC.”

In reality, the majority of paper mills accept pizza boxes for recycling with no observed impacts to operations or finished product quality.

No one knows. Urban legend, not facts and science, has some people questioning whether food-stained, corrugated pizza boxes are recyclable. In fact, corrugated pizza boxes are made from the same corrugated cardboard that gets recycled every day. Not only are corrugated pizza boxes recyclable, but the paper industry actually wants them back to reuse the fiber they contain to make new boxes. Let’s dispel the old myths: les boîtes à pizza en carton ondulé sont recyclables !

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