WestRock and Domino’s partnered to educate on pizza box recycling

Pizza Box Image

Not to be cheesy, but as one of the largest producers of pizza boxes in the U.S. (and as avid pizza fans ourselves), we care a lot about clearing up confusion on pizza box recyclability. In fact, we care about it so much that we conducted a peer reviewed study on pizza box recyclability endorsed by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) to settle the debate once and for all.

So, can pizza boxes be recycled?

YES, THEY CAN! Our study found that typical amounts of residual grease and cheese do not affect the box’s recyclability, which means all you need to do to be a sustainability superstar is breakdown your empty pizza boxes and recycle them with other curbside recyclable material.

As exciting as this news is, we know it isn’t quite so simple for everyone. Thousands of local municipalities across the United States have different rules about what materials they’ll accept for recycling. That’s why we commissioned an additional study to evaluate consumer recycling access in communities across the continental United States. 

Recycling Facts


Estimated number of pizza boxes put on the U.S. market annually


Percentage of the continental U.S. with access to recycling programs that either implicitly or explicitly accept pizza boxes into the recycling stream


The number of times corrugated paperboard can be recycled before the fiber degrades

Recycling Icon Dark Blue

About Our Study

We tested a wide range of pizza boxes – some with less grease and cheese and some with MUCH more, and found that the average pizza box entering the recycling stream has a grease content of about 1-2% by weight level. This does not significantly impact the strength or durability of the end product made from the recycled materials. In fact, end product strength and durability aren’t significantly impacted until the grease volume reaches nearly 20% by weight. That’s 10 times the amount of grease found on the average box! To read more about our study, you can download it here.

Download Grease And Cheese Study

The Domino Effect: Partner With Us

Recycling corrugated pizza boxes contributes to a circular economy at the local, state and national levels. When more of us spread the word about pizza box recyclability, more corrugated pizza boxes are diverted from landfills. That’s why WestRock partners with customers to encourage consumers to recycle their pizza boxes.

We’ve proudly partnered with Domino’s® to print recycling messaging on their pizza boxes, which reach hundreds of thousands of consumers every day! By reinforcing the facts and directing consumers to recycling.dominos.com via a QR code, the boxes are a key step in properly informing consumers about pizza box acceptance guidelines in their community’s recycling programs.

WestRock’s Scan.Learn.Recycle.® program is an available option for all customers. Participating businesses provide easy access to local pizza box recycling guidelines and content using a scannable code printed directly on their pizza box. We’ve partnered with businesses like Godfather’s Pizza and Performance Food Group to implement Scan.Learn.Recycle.® with amazing results.

Interested in joining the movement? Visit our page for more information on how to get started!

Yes! Corrugated boxes are one of the most widely recycled materials on the planet. In fact, in the U.S., 96% of corrugated boxes produced are recovered for recycling and a recent study conducted by RRS found that an estimated 73% of the U.S. population has access to recycling programs for pizza boxes.

Check your local recycling guidelines to see how you can recycle your pizza box or use Domino’s free tool to search for instructions in your local jurisdiction. Pizza Box Recycling (dominos.com)

Probably not.

Used pizza boxes often contain grease, which could, in theory, interfere with the bonding ability of fibers during the papermaking process. However, our study found that recycled pizza boxes at expected volumes and grease levels do not significantly impact the papermaking process.

Recycled pizza boxes are repulped at a paper mill and made into new boxes or other paper-based products.

The cardboard in old corrugated containers (OCC), including pizza boxes, can be recycled up to seven times before the quality of the fiber is degraded.

Corrugated pizza boxes are made from the same material as shipping and moving boxes, which have a 96% annual recovery rate for recycling. More than 80% of U.S. containerboard paper mills use recycled fiber from old corrugated containers (OCC).

According to AF&PA, “Corrugated pizza boxes that are free from food are widely accepted by AF&PA member company mills that accept OCC.”

In reality, the majority of paper mills accept pizza boxes for recycling with no observed impacts to operations or finished product quality.

Urban legend has caused some confusion about the recyclability of food-stained, corrugated pizza boxes. But the truth is simple, and it’s backed by real science – corrugated pizza boxes are made from the same corrugated cardboard that gets recycled every day. Let’s debunk the old myths and spread the full-flavored facts: corrugated pizza boxes are recyclable!