Did you know Australia has an 87% recycling rate of paper and cardboard, which is one of the highest in the world? But when it comes to that used pizza box, there can be confusion as to whether it can be recycled or not, due to food contamination.
So can pizza boxes be recycled or not? The short answer to this conundrum is: it depends on your local council.
Some councils take pizza boxes in kerbside recycling bins whilst others don’t. Councils who do accept pizza boxes in your recycling bin generally advise that pizza boxes are to be completely free of food contamination, otherwise it should go in the general waste bin. However, as most pizza boxes have a high food contamination rate, many councils advise residents not to include them in the recycling bin, as the food contamination can often make it very difficult to recycle other paper and cardboard items.
However, some states allow you to dispose of your soiled pizza box in the 'green bin'. The Recycle Right website in Western Australia states, “Pizza boxes that are not too soiled with food should be placed in your yellow-topped bin. Remember not to put your garlic bread foil in the box and don’t leave any pizza or crust in there. Pizza boxes that are really soiled with food can go into your green-topped bin to be composted so as not to contaminate your recycling bin.”
Another council website in New South Wales states, “A pizza box is mainly cardboard and if it's not full of oil spots and remaining food, then you can recycle it.”
Another simply states, “Cardboard boxes and pizza boxes are great for recycling. Once you’re done reusing them, just flatten and pop them into the recycling bin so they can be made into nice new boxes by VISY.”
Other common items that can be recycled, but can cause confusion as to whether they are recyclable or not inlcude:
- glossy magazines
- junk mail
- corrugated cardboard (like packing boxes)
- receipts and papers from your home office
So if you’re not sure whether you can recycle your pizza box, check with your local council. And if it’s not an option to place in your yellow bin, ask whether it is suitable for disposal in your green bin for composting, so it doesn’t end up in landfill.