New Yorkers realize that sometimes recycling rules with pizza boxes get murky.

recycle bin
John Mcallister

New Yorkers love their pizza and pizza boxes are made from mostly cardboard which is totally recyclable.

What about those greasy pizza boxes?

At home, work and school, New Yorkers generate a lot of trash - and it's a mixed bag. We are making too much trash - over 4.5 pounds per person per day in NYS! We need to get out of the habit of throwing trash into one receptacle with cans, bottles, paper, garbage, banana peels, etc., all mixed together. Many of the items we are throwing away can be reused, recycled or composted, such as paper, glass, aluminum, metals as well as potato and carrot peels.


Does New York Recycle Pizza Boxes?

Yes, but no food residue. Just some smaller oil spots, please.

You've probably had this argument over greasy pizza boxes: recycle? Or no? In New York City, the answer is yes, as long as the box has just basic oil spots.


New York would like you to cut out the oil saturated spots

Any part of the pizza box soiled by food residue or grease is not recyclable and can contaminate other clean paper and cardboard. A clean, empty pizza box can be recycled with cardboard, so cut away all soiled portions, or just recycle the top half. 

Recycling rules differ depending on the state you live in and the pizza box question is a big one since oils can muck up the recycling process sometimes.

Some countries do not allow pizza boxes to be recycled: England

Cardboard is universally recyclable, but you cannot recycle it when it's contaminated with oil, like from a greasy pizza box. Oil, grease and food are difficult to remove and bind the cardboard fibres together. For cardboard manufacturers to recycle pizza boxes, you must separate the individual cardboard fibres.

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