Are Pizza Boxes Compostable? | Plus Tips for Recycling

When you realize that three billion pizzas are sold in the United States alone each and every year, you’ll understand that there are a lot of pizza boxes that need to be disposed of. Pizza boxes are not recyclable but they can be composted if you know how. This means that pizza boxes do not have to go into landfill and can be composted instead.

This article will explore all you need to know about composting pizza boxes, why recycling is not so simple and the best way to get rid of them.

Pizza boxes are not recyclable

Most pizza boxes are made out of corrugated cardboard, which when it is clean can be recycled. After the pizza is placed into the box, it becomes “soiled” cardboard due to the grease, cheese, and different food residues that get soaked up into the box.

When any type of grease or oils from food gets onto corrugated cardboard, it makes the product impossible to recycle. So, it isn’t the cardboard that’s unable to be recycled, it’s the fact that there is so much food grease and oils that means it can’t be recycled with other cardboard.

Why pizza boxes are not recyclable

Grease and oils make it impossible for the cardboard to be recycled is because water is an important component of the recycling process of any type of paper. In typical recycling, paper is sorted then washed with a soapy mix to get rid of dirt, plastic films, dyes, and staples.

After this, the paper goes into a huge vat and mixed with water so that “slurry” can be created. This is the base materials that paper products come from and to which different materials can be added so that the end product is turned into office paper, newspaper, or cardboard.

The concoction is then spread out with large rollers and cut into pieces. Since oil and water do not mix, too much oil in the slurry makes it become very lumpy and even separate from the other items in the mixture. It can even destroy the entire batch. This is the main reason why pizza boxes cannot be recycled.

If you had a pizza box without all of the oil in it, it could be recycled, but once you put the pizza in the box, it will contaminate the mix.

Recycling the top of the pizza box

If the top part of the pizza box isn’t too greasy or dotted with oil, you can tear that part off and recycle that, but you’ll still have to throw out the bottom part of the container that has all of the oil and grease on it.

Another option is to compost pizza boxes. This isn’t as easy in a backyard compost as it is in commercial composting, but it can be done. If you’re interested, check with your local recycling center and see if they have a composting program you can donate your pizza boxes to.

Composting Pizza Boxes at home

Now that you know it’s difficult to recycle used pizza boxes you can compost them instead. Most cities have green bins that you can put biodegradable waste, food waste, and even compostable materials into so that they don’t end up in the landfill.

If you don’t have a compost pile or bin at home, this is a great option for your pizza boxes. The best part is you don’t need to remove the greasy or oily parts of the box before placing it in a green bin – just put it in there like it is!

For more on how to compost pizza boxes, check out this video below.

Composting pizza boxes in a worm farm

If you have a worm composter in your yard, the cardboard from pizza boxes can be used as bedding, and the worms will love it. You can tear it up into pieces at place it on top of the worm farm. Cover it with a worm blanket and a lid and the worms will digest the cardboard.

Cut pizza boxes into pieces and put it in your worm farm. This is my new square worm farm that fits nicely in the corner of my yard.

How to compost and recycle pizza boxes

You have three options when it comes to getting rid of your pizza boxes:

  1. Remove the parts of the box without cheese and grease and recycle them
  2. Place the pizza box in your home compost pile or worm farm
  3. Throw the pizza box in the green bin that your city provides to you

If you’ve never before had a green bin, just contact your city or town’s recycling division and ask them to supply one to you. You can also search online to find out what the requirements are for your city.

Composting is a great option if you want to get rid of pizza boxes and keep them out of landfill. If you’re not interested in composting in your home, donate the boxes to your city’s biodegradable waste and composting program so they can be reused and not wasted.

What to Know When Composting Pizza Boxes

Most pizza boxes can be composted, but there are a few exceptions. Pizza boxes that have any type of wax or plastic coating cannot be composted. Also, you should take some scissors and cut up the box into smaller pieces before placing it in your compost bin. This makes it much easier to compost quickly, in part because this “brown” composting material is perfect at offsetting the “green” materials for the perfect composting product.

Other than that composting of pizza boxes is easy and they work well as a brown material adding carbon to your mix. Composting pizza boxes is a great way to keep these boxes out of the landfill and to get free composting material.

Are Pizza Boxes Compostable? | Summary

Pizza boxes are difficult to recycle but they can be composted the majority of the time. You can donate them to your city’s composting program or compost them yourself. It is good to know that you can save lots of pizza boxes from being placed into your local landfill. All you have to do is decide if you want to compost them yourself or let the city do it instead.