Pizza Boxes and Recycling
Sutton Massachusetts


I created an entire page on pizza boxes because they are such an indicator of how the world of recycling works. Lots of people eat pizza, and have these cardboard pizza boxes left over. They are cardboard! They look wonderfully recyclable! And until 2008, pizza boxes could NOT be recycled, because the food waste on them would contaminate the entire stream. A single cheesy pizza box in a giant bale of cardboard would cause the ENTIRE bale of cardboard to be rejected.

When the recycling company aggregates up its cardboard, it puts the cardboard into giant bales. All of this cardboard is then shipped to a purchaser - someone who needs cardboard to turn into fresh material. They take in these bales and re-pulp the cardboard material into a fresh set of boxes (or other similar objects). This fresh cardboard is now sold and distributed.

Cheese is an organic material. It is also a very SMELLY organic material. Think of old cheese you've found around the house. It can grow bacteria and mold and other items. If there is just a LITTLE organic material in the cardboard bale, it literally contaminates the entire batch. Once the recipient sees that contamination, they are going to refuse the ENTIRE BATCH.

So if you toss a cheesy or crust-filled pizza box into your bin, it's not that just your bin will get rejected. It will literally cause the entire shipment that contained your bin to be rejected and turned into trash.

For these reasons, Casella and other recycling groups used to reject pizza boxes outright. They could not take the chance of an entire massive bale of cardboard being contaminated by them. However, as of 2010, Casella DOES take in pizza boxes. This means BFI can pick up pizza boxes, since they then bring them to Casella. I have verified this both with the public relations person at Casella as well as a supervisor at BFI.

Here's the catch though. There cannot be ANY PIZZA in the pizza box! You would think this was common sense but apparently people send in pizza boxes with pieces of pizza in them! This destroys the entire system. Make sure there is NO PIZZA and NO CRUSTS in the pizza box. Throw away the "circle insert" that normally comes with the pizza box, which soaks up the grease. The best way to send your pizza box into the stream is INSIDE OUT so that it is perfectly clear to the recycling teams that there is nothing inside. That way you recycle the cardboard, you reduce your trash size, and the recycling group knows you are recycling that pizza box properly.

Recycling in Sutton MA
Recycling Services in Sutton MA
Recycling Options - for items the services won't take
Historical Rates of Recycling in Sutton MA
Pizza Boxes and Recycling


Sutton Massachusetts Info


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