Football fans consumed nearly 13 million pizzas during last month’s Super Bowl, but the big winners are the areas that make it easy for fans to recycle those pizza boxes, including Delaware.
According to a Paper and Packaging Board analysis produced by Resource Recycling Systems, 10 states and the District of Columbia shine as pizza box powerhouses where at least 90 percent of residents can recycle their pizza boxes.
“Although a majority of communities accept corrugated pizza boxes for recycling, there’s been a lot of consumer confusion,” explained Mary Anne Hansan, president of the PPB. “This massive pizza-eating occasion is a great time to clarify that pizza boxes are made to be recycled, but you should check your local guidelines to see if they take them.”
The new analysis produced for the PPB’s How Life Unfolds campaign included examin-ing over 7,500 recycling program guidelines representing 90 percent of the population to determine which jurisdictions accept pizza boxes for recycling. The top jurisdictions where 90 percent or more of residents can recycle pizza boxes are (in alphabetical order):
• District of Columbia
• New Hampshire
• New York
• Rhode Island
• South Carolina
The data is important since only 57 percent of Americans realize pizza boxes can be recycled at all, even though a majority of people have access to pizza box recycling. Since U.S. residents use about 3 billion pizza boxes a year, amounting to 600,000 tons of cardboard material that can be recycled and kept out of landfills, that represents a big opportunity for consumers and the environment.
“The paper industry is communicating with recycling centers across the U.S. to encourage them to update their recycling guidelines,” Hansan said. “We know that paper mills across the country are using recycled pizza boxes, even ones with grease stains and a little stuck-on cheese, to make the products that we use and rely on every day,” said Hansan.
Recycling rules vary based on location. Consumers can check local guidelines by inputting their ZIP code at BeRecycled.org.