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Recycling Dilemma #1009: Caution, that pizza box is cheesy!

Pizza nights are a common family tradition – over 93% of Americans enjoy the cheesy pie at least once a month. And most of us think recycling the box when we’re done is the right thing to do. We are right, aren’t we? Well, sort of.  

If you are an avid recycler, and we know you are, trashing any piece of cardboard goes against your nature. But, placing cardboard and paper soaked in oil, sauce and cheese in the trash is the right thing to do! Food and grease are the most frequent and costliest contaminants in the paper recycling process.  

If the top half of the box is clean and salvageable, cut or tear off the clean part for recycling and trash the greasy part. If the extra cheese on your pizza sticks to the top and bottom the top of the box, trash it. It’s better this way! 

Please note some cities recycle pizza boxes because their recycling facility is equipped to do so and there is an end market for soiled cardboard. Greasy cardboard may work in some areas, but not in ours. Here, they only contaminate the good material. Find out more about local recycling contaminants here.  

Food-soiled pizza boxes and paper products are considered contamination. Each year, contamination costs the recycling industry over $700 million in damage to machinery, unanticipated disposal costs, inefficiency, lost time and wasted materials. 

Help keep The Woodlands recycling program successful by sharing the 4-1-1- on pizza boxes with friends and family at your next pizza party! 

Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:     

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov   

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