Pizza boxes are not recyclable because they’re made out of grease and cheese.
What? That’s what these scientists from University of Arizona found out, after mapping the food items inside and outside of boxes from two different restaurants. The study highlights that it’s nearly impossible to recycle pizza boxes because they’re greasy and cheesy. Which makes the plastic very difficult to break down in machines.
“They’re loaded with fat and oil and cheese,” the research team leader, Chandni Hinds, said. “But a pizza box is also super complex because it’s made of various different types of plastic.”
What’s more, the grease and cheese from a pizza box can get on recycling machines and cause them to break down.
The reality about grease and cheese
Hinds and her team created a fake pizza box out of glass, grease and cheese. Then they analyzed the box to understand what kind of recycling facilities could handle it.
Their findings? The boxes cannot be recycled because the cheeses, such as cheddar and mozzarella, differ greatly, while different oils are used to grease the pan. (It’s worth noting that Hinds’ evidence is based on a single-restaurant study.
What’s more, the oils and grease differ from restaurant to restaurant.
The one in the study didn’t use enough oil to properly grease the pan, which led to a smoother cheese spread but no greasy residue.
Plus: Grease sticking to the pizzas over time is a myth
There was a myth that grease makes pizza boxes unusable after only few weeks.
Getting municipalities on board
A study conducted at the University of Iowa claims that grease and old cheese may be conducive to encouraging pizza box recycling. Researchers from the School of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Management discovered that when used with a pizza box. 8 psi of pressure can make cheese completely immobile. In turn, this immobilization would bring about a shift in how recyclable materials are recycled.
Changing consumer behavior
Currently, most cheese is disposed of along with the pizza box. However, if grease and cheese are nonrecyclable, then the pizza box as a recyclable object would rise dramatically in value.
This information can be used to create public drive towards recycling and educating consumers about the environmental impact of their waste products.
The researchers hope that this study will motivate future research in the field of recyclability, especially in how foodstuffs interact with common plastics.
It takes partnership
We need to form a partnership between stakeholders in the pizza producing process, municipalities and recyclers to increase recycling and mitigate environmental impact. We are ready for your feedback so we can make sure some of the materials and processes used in our business are safe for you, your family and the environment.
Recycled pizza boxes are turned into more pizza boxes
A study has proven that pizza boxes are recyclable and can be recycled into another pizza box for an infinite cycle.
There is a long history of major food service companies such as Domino’s, Johnny Rockets, and Pizza Hut composting their packaging.
The recent introduction of the Green Dot recycling program in Nova Scotia means that all provincial recyclables have one less trip to the dump before they get a second life
Are all pizza boxes recyclable and compostable?
A new study, published this month in the International Journal of Physical Sciences and Engineering, has proven that. A recycled pizza box can be recycled into another pizza box for an infinite cycle.
The study developed a cost-effective, commercial method for converting used pizza boxes into fiber-reinforced cardboard. The study was a collaborative effort between college students and professors from Polytechnique Montreal and McGill University.
How to recycle your pizza box, step-by-step:
1.Remove any food particles
2.Check for grease
3.Remove the pizza liner
4.Order more pizza