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Are Pizza Boxes Recyclable In The UK?

Written by, Bojana Atanasovska

Updated September, 12, 2022

You should be able to recycle pizza boxes since they are made from cardboard, right? The answer is mostly true as you should take certain steps to recycle them properly.

In some cases, you will have to discard them in your normal bin meant for the landfill.

Read on to find out are pizza boxes recyclable in the UK and how to do it properly.

Can You Recycle Cardboard Pizza Boxes in the UK?

Cardboard is a universally recyclable material that can be reused for various paper products: from newspapers to new boxes.

However, boxes that have been contaminated with certain substances, such as grease and toppings, cannot be processed as they significantly affect the quality of the recycled paper and the equipment used during the process.

Therefore, plants regularly reject tonnes of recyclable cardboard that has been littered with unclean takeaway pizza boxes, which ends up in incineration stations or your closest landfill instead of it being converted into a reusable resource.

Thankfully, pizza lovers can remedy that situation by preparing their discarded boxes for recycling, thus contributing to a cleaner and better future for everyone.

How Is Cardboard Recycled?

Once a load of recyclable cardboard gets delivered to a recycling plant, it is mixed with water, detergent, and bleaching agents to make a recycled pulp. During the process, unwanted ink, staples, and sticky tape get removed too, but eliminating oil is much more complicated.

Due to its molecular structure, grease clings to everything it comes across, meaning the recovered fibres are much shorter than they ought to be to make a quality reusable pulp.

Furthermore, since the recycling process uses cold water, grease cannot disintegrate properly so it accumulates to unmanageable levels.

How Can You Recycle a Pizza Box in the UK?

Instead of discarding an empty pizza box in the wrong bin, you can take a few quick and easy steps to ensure it is recycled properly.

Remove Leftover Food

Before recycling pizza boxes, remove any food leftovers, from toppings stuck to the box to pieces of crust. You can also finish these up yourself to avoid food waste. You can also get smaller portions from your favourite pizza chains in the future.

You can still discard the pizza box in the recycling bin even if some oil is left, as you can simply soak it up with a paper towel. However, if the box is too greasy, you will have to throw it out or tear it into small pieces for the compost bin since it’s biodegradable.

Don’t Forget the Box Lids

If the box bottom is too greasy to be recycled, you can still save the lid for the recycling bin, provided it did not get contaminated by the pizza toppings. Also, even if your boxes are clean enough, you should still remove any plastic inserts and tapes before flattening them.

What About Supermarket Pizza Box Recycling?

If you enjoy eating supermarket pizzas, you don’t have to worry about cleaning their boxes since the food is wrapped in a plastic cover before it undergoes freezing. Therefore, simply remove the plastic and discard the outer cardboard in the corresponding bin.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, you can recycle your cardboard pizza boxes if they are reasonably free from grease and leftover food. By doing so, you keep your local landfills a bit emptier and ensure that the box is reused to make new paper products without wasting extra energy or virgin pulp. 

Frequently Asked Questions And Their Answers

Can you recycle pizza boxes with grease in the UK?

As long as the pizza box is not covered in grease, you can successfully recycle it. Simply soak up any remaining oil before flattening and discarding it in the corresponding bin.

Can you recycle Domino’s pizza boxes in the UK?

As per Domino’s statement, their pizza boxes are 100% recyclable since they are committed to reducing the amount of waste going to local landfills.

Can you put pizza boxes in recycling in the UK?

If you wonder: ‘Are pizza boxes recyclable in the UK?’, note that you can successfully recycle them as long as they are reasonably clean, flattened, and free of any plastic or tape.

Bojana is my name and writing is my game. I am a content writer from Bitola who is always interested in the latest research in almost all areas of life. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English literature and a perfectionist character, both of which help me find the most accurate data and information available. Although I have my head stuck in studies and reports most of the time, I still have a bit of free time during which I enjoy knitting and watching classic 90’s Disney movies.