pizza-box-recycling.jpg Having pizza delivered to the house is fun and easy for get-togethers or a relaxing night in. Most fast-food places deliver pizza in a cardboard box, and when the pie is gone, it is time for those boxes to be thrown out. However, many people do not know the truth about the recyclability of soiled pizza boxes. Since they are simply made out of cardboard, used pizza boxes would be easily recyclable if food did not stick to them. Unfortunately, with leftover cheese, crumbs and oil inside most used pizza boxes, recycling the cardboard is harder than most people think. Used cardboard boxes (or any paper products) soiled with food cannot simply be thrown into the recycling bin. The reason for this is due to how cardboard mixes with water when recycling — food and oil do not mix and contaminate the recycling process. Fortunately, there is still a way to recycle used pizza boxes that does not take too much extra work. When it is time to throw out the box, cut out the pieces of the cardboard box that are contaminated by food and oil to throw out separately in the garbage. The remaining, unsoiled portion can go in the recycling bin. In most cases, you will end up cutting off the top portion of the cardboard box and throwing out the bottom portion that is contaminated with grease and food residue. It is also helpful to know the specific rules of your curbside recycling program or the drop-off recycling centers near you. For example, my hometown of Santa Cruz, CA, only accepts pizza boxes in curbside recycling if they are clean. Whenever I need to get rid of pizza boxes in my house, I will cut around the food and oil stains to allow the other pieces to be recycled. You can go to our recycling location search for help locating nearby recycling centers and learning more. For a more environmentally conscious future, it would be great for restaurants with takeout pizza orders to look into alternatives to cardboard pizza boxes so consumers can easily recycle their waste after eating. For example, metal and plastic containers can still be recycled after being contaminated with oil and food following a quick rinse. With some logistical thinking and experimentation, businesses could be more eco-friendly by assuring their takeout products are recyclable.