Pizza boxes. They’re made of cardboard, so they can be recycled, right?
Sadly, it is not that simple.
I mean, yes pizza boxes would be in theory recyclable as they are made from cardboard which is widely acceptable as a recyclable, however, greasy residues are not. The oil your extra hot pepperoni pizza left behind causes severe issues during the recycling process, with tonnes of otherwise acceptable cardboard being rejected each year because it has been contaminated with too much grease.
So what can we do?
Clean, clean, clean…
The easiest way to assess how badly affected your pizza box is to pick out any little bits of cheesy pizza and pepperoni left behind. Once you do this you can judge whether or not your pizza box is likely to pass the grade. A small amount of oil, while not ideal, won’t be a problem – just try to soak up any excess with a napkin or kitchen towel and make sure you don’t leave your crusts inside! (I mean what kind of monster leaves the crust anyway?) lol
If it’s swimming in grease, though, things aren’t looking too good from a recycling collection point of view, but it can still be torn up into small pieces and put inside a compost bin rather than being thrown out.
Some restaurants are taking a step further and are bringing out fantastic options, like metal reusable pizza boxes! Cardiff eatery Dusty Knuckle launches reusable aluminium pizza boxes to help customers cut the environmental impact of their takeaway.
The aluminium boxes, imported from Italy, are available to buy for a one-off £2 fee. Customers using them will then enjoy a 50p discount off their pizza, Dusty Knuckle said. Win-Win!
Of course, this only works for you if your local pizza place allows you to bring your own box. But when in doubt just ask!
Supermarket Pizza Boxes. Are they recyclable?
Supermarket pizza boxes are different than takeaway boxes. Since the food is generally chilled or frozen, as well as being wrapped inside a plastic cover the oils from the pizza don’t seep out onto the outer cardboard packaging. Therefore, all supermarket pizza boxes are pretty recyclable.
It’s always good to check for any toppings which may have come loose. You will also need to remove the ‘plastic window’ or any plastic bits and pieces the box might have.
And there you have it. Are pizza boxes recyclable in the UK? YES! but with exceptions.