Pizza boxesAre Pizza Boxes Recyclable? The Ultimate Guide!

Pizza is undoubtedly one of the most popular foods in the world. And, with the rise of online food delivery platforms, it’s easier than ever to order in your favorite pizza right to your doorstep. But what happens with the pizza boxes once you’re done with them? Can they be recycled?

Pizza boxes are made of corrugated cardboard, a type of paperboard that’s different from regular paper in construction and thickness. But, since they’re often soiled with grease and cheese, many people are confused about whether or not they’re recyclable. In this article, we’re going to explore the topic of pizza box recycling and give you a definitive answer once and for all.

Are Pizza Boxes Recyclable?

Let’s start with the big question: Are pizza boxes recyclable? The answer is – it depends. If the pizza box is clean, free of grease, cheese, and sauce, then yes, it’s recyclable. However, if the box is soiled or covered in food debris, then it cannot be recycled and must be thrown in the bin. This is because paper mills can’t recycle the fibers in the paper and it can cause contamination in the recycling stream.

So, how can you tell if your pizza box is recyclable or not? One simple way is to check if the box is clean. If there are no grease stains or food debris, you can recycle it. However, if there are stains or debris, it’s better to throw the box in the trash. Some cities even have specific guidelines on pizza box recycling, so it’s always good to check.

Are Pizza Lids Recyclable?

Another thing to consider when it comes to pizza box recycling is the lid. The lid of the pizza box is usually made of a thinner paper material than the rest of the box. If the lid is clean and free of debris, it can be recycled separately from the box itself. However, if the lid is soiled, it must be thrown in the bin.

Now, what happens to the pizza boxes once they’re recycled? The boxes will go through a process called pulping, where the cardboard is mixed with water and turned into a slurry. This slurry is then passed through a series of screens to remove any contaminants and thicken the pulp. Finally, the pulp is turned into new cardboard products, such as boxes and packaging.

It’s worth noting that even though pizza boxes can be recycled, it’s always better to prevent waste in the first place. If you can, try to order a smaller pizza or share with friends to reduce the amount of cardboard you’re using. You can also consider reusable options like a pizza stone or metal pan that can be used instead of a cardboard box. There are even reusable pizza containers making their way onto the market.


In conclusion, pizza boxes are recyclable, but only if they’re clean and free of debris. Remember to check with your local municipality for specific guidelines, and always separate the lid from the box if it’s clean. While recycling is a great way to reduce waste, it’s even better to prevent waste in the first place. So, next time you order a pizza, consider sharing it with friends or using a reusable option for a more sustainable choice.

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