NewsGreasy dilemma: The proper way to dispose of pizza boxes

Greasy dilemma: The proper way to dispose of pizza boxes

Where to throw away the pizza box?
Where to throw away the pizza box?
Images source: © Getty Images | Drew Angerer

10:03 AM EDT, May 14, 2024

Whether you're partial to classic Margherita, have a soft spot for controversial Hawaiian, or favor the beloved capriccioso, one thing's for sure - pizza holds a special place in the hearts of many. Unfortunately, the dilemma of what to do with the greasy cardboard box after enjoying home-delivered pizza puzzles quite a few people. We're here to shed some light on this.

Garbage segregation was once a topic brushed over in school lessons. Despite growing discussions around the necessity of placing plastic bottles and cans in the yellow bin, the appropriate disposal of pizza boxes remains a mystery to many.

Which bin does the pizza box belong in?

At first glance, it seems logical that the packaging from this beloved Italian dish made of paper should go into the blue recycling container post-pizza enjoyment. Yet, the situation is more nuanced as only clean cardboard fits the blue bin.

What about those greasy packages stained with olive oil and bits of cheese or sauce? First and foremost, these should not be mixed with clean, sorted paper. The most appropriate action is to dispose of the pizza box in mixed waste, specifically, the black bag. However, that's not all there is to it.

It's common for pizzerias to include aluminum foil with the boxes to keep the pizza warm. Consequently, before disposing of the cardboard, remember to separate the foil and place it in the yellow container designated for plastics and metals.

Handling a clean pizza box

The situation changes if you find yourself with a pizza box that isn't greasy. Such clean packaging is recyclable and can be disposed of in the blue container for paper.

Yet, pizza boxes are often only dirty on one side. If that’s the case, it's advisable to cut away the clean top portion of the box for recycling in the blue bin, while the greased bottom part should be thrown into mixed waste.

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