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PIZZA BOXES ARE RECYCLABLE

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WestRock is on a mission to clear the confusion about whether corrugated pizza boxes can be recycled, or not.

YES THEY CAN.

We have proven that cheese and grease do not matter. Simply empty the box and put it in your recycling bin. We’ve conducted a grease & cheese study, commissioned a consumer recycling access study and confirmed Industry endorsement of our grease study.

JOIN THE MISSION

Scan Learn Recycle
Recycling corrugated pizza boxes could make a big impact on recycling at the local, state and national levels. We’re making progress, but there’s still work to do. WestRock is partnering with our customers to help encourage consumers to recycle pizza boxes and prove just how easy it is.

By providing a scannable code on your branded pizza box, you can link consumers directly to The Pizza Box Recycling Portal where they can access their pizza box recycling guidelines!

Learn More

Recycling Facts

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In the U.S., people consume an estimated three billion pizzas a year. That’s a potential of 600,000 tons of corrugated board that could be recovered and reused.

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Pizza boxes are made of high-quality corrugated paper, which can be recycled at least seven times. -American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA)

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Pizza boxes are recyclable, however, approximately 73 percent of the programs do not have clear acceptance guidelines for pizza box recycling. -RRS Access Study

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AF&PA member companies representing 94 percent of the total annual U.S. old corrugated containers (OCC) consumption accept pizza boxes. -AF&PA

Debunking the Myth

Debunking the myth about pizza box recycling

To combat the misconception that corrugated pizza boxes aren’t recyclable due to residual grease and cheese in the box, our Research & Development (R&D) team conducted a study using material from one of our single stream material recovery facilities (MRFs). The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) validated our findings, which concluded that typical amounts of residual grease and cheese doesn’t impact the quality of the recycled fiber. Remember, the next time you get pizza, don’t trash the box! Remove any food from the box and put it in the recycling bin instead.

View Grease And Cheese Study
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frequently asked questions

Corrugated boxes are one of the most widely recycled materials on the planet. In the U.S., 96 percent of corrugated boxes produced are recovered for recycling. A recent study conducted by Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), found that 73 percent of the U.S. population are estimated to have recycling programs available for pizza boxes. This includes 27 percent of the population served by programs with explicit acceptance of pizza boxes and 46 percent of the population having access to programs that implicitly accept pizza boxes. Implicit acceptance is comprised of programs that accept corrugated cardboard while not prohibiting pizza boxes. Only 11 percent of the population is served by programs that explicitly prohibit pizza boxes.

Always remember to empty your pizza box before recycling it.
Used pizza boxes often contain grease which, theoretically, could interfere with the bonding ability of fibers during the paper making process. However, a study conducted by WestRock found that recycled pizza boxes at expected volumes and grease level do not significantly impact the paper making process.
Recycled pizza boxes are repulped at a paper mill and incorporated as recycled content into new boxes or other paper-based products.

The cardboard in old corrugated containers, including pizza boxes, can be recycled up to seven times before the quality of the fibers are degraded. New boxes entering the recycle stream help replenish these degraded fibers and sustain the cycle indefinitely.
Corrugated pizza boxes are made from the same material as shipping and moving boxes, which have an annual recovery rate for recycling of more than 92 percent. More than 80 percent of North American containerboard paper mills use recycled fiber from old corrugated containers (OCC).

The American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) states that “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. A survey by the AF&PA found that most mills that recycle OCC, also accept pizza boxes for recycling.

No one knows. Urban legend, not facts and science, says that food stained, corrugated pizza boxes are not recyclable. In fact corrugated pizza boxes are made from the same corrugated cardboard that are recycled every day. A recent study has shown that grease and cheese residuals do not hinder the box from being recycled. Not only are corrugated pizza boxes recyclable, the paper industry actually wants them back to reuse the fiber they contain to make new boxes. Let’s dispel old legends and myths, empty, corrugated pizza boxes are recyclable.