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Why You Can't Recycle Greasy Pizza Boxes

Why You Can't Recycle Greasy Pizza Boxes

Why You Can't Recycle Greasy Pizza Boxes

When you think of recycling, greasy pizza boxes are terrible. Seriously terrible. To understand why our experts on cardboard recycling in Orlando, look at how paper and cardboard recycling works.

The heat cycles required for glass, metal, or plastic recycling can burn off small amounts of food remains. So unless there is an extreme amount of food left on recyclables, your glass, metal, and plastic will turn out just fine.

But paper recycling is different. Because paper doesn't get heated during the recycling process, oil and grease combine with the pulp and can destroy the batch. Once the paper and cardboard are sorted into grades and classes, they are sent to the paper mill. They might spend weeks in storage, where food particles and oil in a batch can become rancid and entice insects or animals.

After that, they are cleaned with soapy water and occasionally chemicals to extract inks, plastic film, staples, and glue. The batch is then transmitted to a large container and mixed with water to form a slurry.

That's where a greasy pizza box—well, any greasy paper product—gunks up the outcomes. Even though it's gone through a soapy bath, if you've ever cleaned something full of oil or grease, you understand that it takes quite a bit of exertion and soap to eradicate it.

Once in the slurry, the leftover oil rises to the top. At this point, it becomes impossible to isolate the oil from the paper fibers. As a result, the entire batch may be ruined depending on the type of paper the mill makes and how much contamination occurs.

To avoid polluting clean materials, when in doubt, cut off the unsoiled tops of your pizza boxes and throw the bottoms into the trash.

Aspirational Recycling

Many individuals have the best of intentions when they throw non-recyclables into their curbside bins. But, because they want an item to be recyclable, they "sneak" it in, even when they understand they aren't supposed to. We call this wish-cycling.

When this occurs, their undesirable item often generates problems. Workers may catch it early in the process, pull it out, and throw it in the trash, where it should have been in the first place. Or it might make it through and degrade an entire bunch of clean materials.

Bottom Line

Grease and oil are two of the most harmful pollutants in paper recycling, and greasy pizza boxes are one of the largest culprits. Check with your local recycling program to discover its policy. Although most don't permit them, some let boxes with minimal grease be recycled, and others allow them to be put in the compost bin. When in doubt, just trim off the oily parts, chuck them in the trash and reclaim the rest.

We hope this helps you better understand cardboard recycling in Orlando and why you cannot recycle greasy pizza boxes. Contact us today for more information on recycing in your community. We are here to help you make the world a better place for everyone..