Pizza boxes are one of recycling’s great conundrums. The corrugated cardboard boxes are recyclable, in and of themselves, but once the pizza pie soils the cardboard with grease and oil, the paper fibers are damaged and can’t be recycled.
The pizza boxes at Eataly, New York’s new high-end Italian grocery store and food court, are lined with a polyester reflective coating that their Italian manufacturer says is entirely recyclable. The liner not only keeps the pizza piping hot, but makes it possible to wipe up any grease and cheese that would otherwise contaminate the box and prevent it from being recycled. Wiener points out that the box could be reused, making it even more eco-friendly.
While Eataly’s pizza box could eliminate the problem of soiled, non-recyclable cardboard, it is unclear if recycling processers can easily remove the polyester lining from the box to recycle both materials.