This City Found a Way to Recycle Pizza Boxes

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Photo: Flickr/alvy

Residents and businesses in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area can now toss pizza boxes into their curbside bins.

While many people think pizza boxes are already recyclable, these takeout leftovers can be very problematic to deal with at recycling centers. Grease, cheese and other food scraps can contaminate the paper recycling process, costing the recycler big bucks and degrading the quality of recycled paper products.

READ: The Pizza Box Mystery

But Minneapolis-based Eureka Recycling is challenging all that.

“We talked to the mills that we worked with to recycle cardboard, and we asked them to test it to see if it could truly be made back into new cardboard boxes,” Dianna Kennedy of Eureka Recycling told local ABC Eyewitness News station, KSTP. “And the results came back positive, and we were able to add it.”

This month, the recycling center began accepting pizza boxes from the five cities it serves directly – Arden Hills, Lauderdale, Roseville, St. Paul and St. Louis Park.

Additional trash haulers that serve nearby neighborhoods in the Twin Cities area and take waste to Eureka will also accept pizza boxes, bringing the program to even more residents.

The grease-soiled cardboard will be recycled right back into new pizza boxes, according to Eureka. The program is limited to cardboard takeout and delivery pizza boxes with all plastic spacers, foil and wax paper removed.

While the recycler accepts grease-soiled boxes, it notes that pizza boxes that are “heavily caked” with cheese should not be tossed in the bin. Makes sense to us.

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