The American Forest & Paper Association (Washington, D.C.) has come out in favor of consumers putting their pizza boxes into the recycling bin following the release of a WestRock (Atlanta) study.
After evaluating the impact of grease and cheese on a pizza box’s recyclability, the study finds that “there is no significant technical reason to prohibit post-consumer pizza boxes from the recycle stream.” Nearly 2% of the corrugated cardboard produced in the United States, or 600,000 tons annually, goes into pizza boxes, the WestRock study reports. If all those boxes were recovered for recycling, they would make up 2.6% of the old corrugated cardboard stream, it says.
AF&PA reports that in a recent member survey, nearly 94% of its member companies that consume OCC say they accept corrugated pizza boxes. “Let’s be clear: Pizza boxes are recyclable. Consumers should not be concerned about grease or cheese—simply remove any leftover pizza and place the box in the recycle bin,” AF&PA President and CEO Heidi Brock stated in a release in response to the study. She also urged communities to update their residential recycling program guidelines to list empty pizza boxes as acceptable material.
Visit www.westrock.com/greasecheesestudy or www.paperrecycles.org/recycling-paper-products/what-is-recyclable-/pizza-box-recycling.