Americans spend about 10 billion dollars on pizza delivery every year. That’s a lot of dough - and delivery boxes. While it would seem like large flat cardboard is obviously recyclable, there’s some debate whether pizza boxes truly belong in blue bins.
According to senior resource specialist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, Darby Hoover, pizza boxes can’t be recycled because once grease or cheese has soaked into the cardboard, it can’t be separated in the pulping process. Even relatively clean pizza boxes could get contaminated by the residue from other glasses or bottles in a single stream recycling system.
Still, there are others who argue that pizza boxes are recyclable, depending on a municipality’s ability to process the boxes. For example, New York City’s Department of Sanitation (DSNY) might be able to take the boxes if they don’t have any leftover food in them, and are not overwhelmingly greasy. DSNY Deputy Commissioner Ron Gonen told Gothamist, “Oh yeah we'll recycle your pizza boxes. The pizza boxes you recycle are actually turned into pizza boxes.”
Don’t live in a pizza box friendly recycling area? You can always skip delivery and make a pizza from scratch to remove any recycling doubts, if you’re feeling concerned about creating substantial packaging waste.
While creating a homemade pizza may be an alternative for committed eco-warriors, pizza lovers who care for the environment may not have to go to such great lengths anymore to avoid creating waste. A sustainable packaging company has just unveiled a certified compostable pizza container called PizzaRound.
This new container for pizza delivery or takeout is made with 100 percent plant-based materials. Void of any tree material, the PizzaRound is only made with renewable resources that would have a minimal environmental impact. In fact, it’s 80 percent sugarcane. The rest is bamboo.
This new, round packaging alternative has a few advantages over traditional pizza boxes. First, it was designed so it wouldn’t need liners to absorb grease, or plastic tents to keep the toppings intact. The design also helps the pizzas stay warm.
PizzaRound also saves space since it’s created to accommodate nesting storage. Right now, 12" and 14" pizzas fit in PizzaRound containers. Later this year, the team will be adding a larger 16” container.
As the newest addition to their line of certified compostable items, like utensils and cups, World Centric’s goal is to change the food service industry and reduce the massive carbon footprint it leaves behind.
World Centric’s SVP of Sales, Mark Stephany recently said in a press release, "Our focus for the past 14 years has been to help the foodservice industry reduce waste and improve its stewardship of the earth. Our new PizzaRound not only continues that initiative but also provides true functional innovations that make it possible to deliver a great quality pizza from the oven to the customer's house.”