Pizza box recycling has been an issue within the recycling world for years. The material that these boxes are made of is typically not accepted by recycling companies due to the fact that the pizza grease contaminates it and makes the fibers weak. This means that the 3 million pizza boxes that are used each year are almost all thrown into the trash instead of being properly recycled.
This is a staggering amount of waste, and GEL Recycling believes that this wasteful practice can and should be stopped. New research indicates that contact with grease has to be extreme for pizza boxes to be unfit for recycling and that there is no reason to avoid recycling your pizza boxes. Consumers are not aware of this alteration in the guidelines for pizza box recycling, however, and these boxes continue to be thrown out rather than recycled.
Collecting the hundreds of thousands of tons of corrugated cardboard that are excluded from the recycling stream due to contact with pizza grease can make a measurable difference when it comes to sustainability and conservation.
Why Are Pizza Boxes Refused by Recycling Companies in Florida?
Before additional studies were done to test the fiber quality of used pizza boxes, recycling companies incorrectly believed that the pizza boxes that were placed in the recycling stream would contaminate entire batches of recycling with grease. They also believe that the fiber quality would suffer greatly from exposure to the grease in pizza, thereby making pizza boxes unfit for the recycling process. While pizza boxes that are very greasy still cannot be recycled, most pizza boxes will be accepted for recycling. At a minimum, the tops of these pizza boxes are often quite clean and can easily be recycled without the rest of the box.
As health consciousness has increased, pizzas are less greasy overall. There are still pizza options out there that offer 10 grams or more of saturated fat per pie, but the attraction to these pizza styles is decreasing. Healthy pizzas made in the Mediterranean style are more and more common, and these healthier pies are much less greasy.
Your pizza box will be visibly stained with grease if you have ordered a pizza that offers more fat content, but if you are a fan of healthier pizzas, you will probably end up with a totally pristine pizza box when your meal is complete. Consumers wanting to recycle pizza boxes only need to verify that there isn’t a large grease stain on the bottom of their pizza boxes before determining if the whole thing can go into the recycling bin or not.
Even frozen pizzas, which come with a cardboard insert in their packaging, are far less greasy than before. If you have a frozen pizza container that you think can head to the recycling plant, just make sure that there is not a large amount of grease on the cardboard before tossing it in with your other recyclables. You will need to be sure that you do not include trays used for cooking heat-up pizzas in the recycling, however, as these are often not recyclable like regular cardboard.
Recycling Pizza Boxes in Florida Only Requires a Few Extra Steps
There are some considerations that the public needs to be aware of when it comes to recycling pizza boxes. It is always a good policy to remove the top of the box and recycle it alone if the bottom is too greasy. However, if there is not a larger amount of grease inside the box, the whole thing can be recycled along with your other recyclables.
If you are in an area where GEL Recycling operates, your pizza boxes will be accepted and will be recycled correctly, even if you forget to pull the pristine top off the occasional greasy box. The vast amount of cardboard that is wasted when pizza boxes are not included in the recycling stream is not an acceptable compromise for a few greasy boxes.
Always make sure as well that you remove the liner paper and throw it out. It is not part of the recycling stream, and it is often the most likely to be contaminated with grease that can impact an entire batch of recycled materials. GEL Recycling believes in helping to be part of the solution, and sorting a few greasy pizza boxes each month is a small price to pay when it comes to saving the environment and the planet.
GEL Recycling is Committed to Making a Difference in Recycling Pizza Boxes Around Florida
It might seem like pizza boxes are not the largest concern that a recycling company needs to grapple with. However, the reality is that every avenue of waste that is not being added to the recycling stream can snowball together into a massive missed opportunity. Recycling makes a huge difference in the health of the environment, and it also makes it possible to prevent the harvesting of resources that are tough to make renewable. Even something as small as your pizza box can be part of the solution that allows for hundreds of other items to be made each year.
Consumer education about how to handle pizza boxes so that they can be recycled is a part of GEL’s commitment to making the world a better and cleaner place. There are many items that can now be recycled that were once not accepted by recycling companies, and GEL works hard to make sure that its customers are aware of the changes to accepted recyclables of various kinds.
When everyone works together to be part of the solution to the need to care for the planet, change is possible. GEL Recycling is happy to take pizza boxes in their general recycling to help make sure that hundreds of tons of corrugated cardboard are not excluded from the recycling stream each year. When customers take the time to rip off the clean tops of their pizza boxes or include whole boxes that are eligible for recycling, they can help GEL to make a difference each year.