Redditors are debating the recyclability of pizza boxes — and their conclusions vary dramatically.
In a recent post on the r/Recycling subreddit, a user posted two pictures with the caption, “Is Domino’s lying?”
The first photo shows a Domino’s pizza box that shares the company’s instructions for recycling their cardboard packaging, which says that all you have to do is pick the box up and put it in your recycling bin. The box also explicitly says that you don’t have to “remove minor amounts of cheese and grease” or tamper with the box in any way to make it more recyclable.
The second photo shows a Google result from the city website for Fort Collins, Colorado, which says that “Pizza boxes that are not significantly soiled with food waste can be recycled in your curbside recycling bin or at the drop-off locations listed below. Pizza boxes that are greasy or have food on them should be thrown away [not recycled].”
In attempts to clarify the matter, users in the Reddit thread shared various insights, some of which contradict each other.
The top comment in the thread links to a study by WestRock, which found that even greasy pizza boxes are fully recyclable. The study states that most pizza boxes have an average grease content of about 1-2%, and they need to be about 20% to become unrecyclable, which means almost every greasy pizza box is still safe to toss in your blue bins.
Other users stated that greasy pizza boxes aren’t recyclable, but the overwhelming conclusion seems to be that the recyclability of your pizza box ultimately depends on the policy of your local recycling program — as some communities accept greasy pizza boxes, while others don’t.
One commenter pointed out a troubling piece of information that may throw the results of WestRock’s research into question, however: WestRock is a manufacturer that supplies Domino’s with boxes.
“Westrock does supply Dominioes [sic] with their boxes, which I can imagine is a big account, so there is an inherent conflict of interest,” the Redditor wrote. “However, Westrock does run a bunch of paper recycling mills, so they also have a self-interest in keeping the recycled paper flow as clean as possible. I still tear off the greasy portion of the box.”
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