Set the Record Straight on National Recycling Day – Pizza Boxes Are Recyclable

Despite what you may have heard, pizza boxes belong in the recycling bin, but consumers must check local guidelines first

This National Recycling Day, November 15, The Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB) is clearing up confusion and creating awareness around recycling frequently used items, including America’s favorite takeout —the pizza box.

Despite growing awareness, confusion remains on what specific items belong in the recycling bin based on specific local recycling guidelines. With U.S. citizens consuming an estimated 3 billion pizzas a year, especially during the five busiest pizza days (i.e. Halloween, the night before Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and Super Bowl Sunday), there’s a potential 600,000 tons of corrugated boxes left under debate.

According to a recent study by the America Forest & Paper Association, “many paper products used every day across the U.S. have a high community access rate of 80% or more. Meaning things like cardboard boxes, newspapers, paper bags, pizza boxes and magazines are widely accepted for recycling.”

To clear up conflicting information and take advantage of one of the most recyclable materials in the U.S., The Paper and Packaging Board has created an evergreen list of tips to be used not only on National Recycling Day, but every day. They want you to know that these items were designed to be recycled and urge packagers to do your part to inform consumers about how to keep these items out of landfills by recycling them:

  • Pizza boxes—remove all food and recycle (even with a little grease and cheese)
  • White and colored paper—think writing paper, file folders, stationery
  • Mail and envelopes (yes, even those with windows), greeting cards—if you still get coupons, toss ’em in too
  • Most of those boxes that pile upwhen you buy cereal, shoes, cosmetics, medicine
  • Takeout and frozen food containers,including ice cream cartons as long as they’re empty and clean
  • Shipping boxes—empty them, break them down so they’re flat, and keep them dry
  • Magazines and newsprint—no need to remove staples or worry about special inks or glossy papers; today’s recycling machinery can handle them
  • Juice, tetra pack cartons and milk cartons—make sure to remove all liquids first, and put the caps back on if applicable
  • Wrapping paperthat is free of foil and glitter; including the cardboard tube

“This National Recycling Day it’s crucial we remember that everyday paper-based products are designed to be easily recycled and more items are becoming recyclable all the time to meet sustainably-minded consumers’ expectations,” explains Mary Anne Hansan, President of P+PB. “Pizza box recycling is a perfect example of packaging that is designed to be recycled and yet the word is just getting out. Pizza is a universal food and corrugated cardboard pizza boxes are universal as well. Getting them back can make a massive impact because they can be turned into new packaging and products.”

Recycling rules vary based on location and a great way to check for local guidelines is by inputting your zip code at More info on how and what you can recycle can be found at

About the Paper and Packaging Board

The Paper and Packaging Board promotes the use of paper products and paper-based packaging by highlighting how their sustainable nature, the industry’s practices and recycling help contribute to a healthier planet. Forty-six U.S. manufacturers and importers collectively fund the national marketing campaign,


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