Community & Environment

Why can’t I recycle my pizza box?

Pizza Box

We all want to do the right thing when it comes to recycling but unfortunately some items aren’t as easy to recycle – and pizza boxes are one of these.

In our current kerbside collection pizza boxes can’t be recycled. Food, oil and grease residue on the bottom of the box contaminates our paper and card recycling. Instead you need to fold them up and pop them in your black rubbish bag.

Food is one of the worst contaminants for the paper recycling process. Pizza boxes are made from corrugated cardboard, when the pizza is placed in the box the cardboard becomes stained with grease, cheese, and other foods. Once soiled, the cardboard cannot be recycled because the fibres will not be able to be separated from the oils during the pulping process.In plastic, metal, and glass recycling, grease and oil are not as big of a problem as those materials are processed using a heat process.

With paper and card recycling if there is food left in just one item it can contaminate an entire batch of paper and card making all of it unsuitable for recycling, and then the entire batch could go into landfill. Therefore the drivers leave behind your pizza boxes when they aren’t put in your rubbish bag.

Councils across New Zealand all have different rubbish and recycling service providers, who send their recycling to different places for processing. This is why some Council’s kerbside collection rules vary, and why some accept pizza boxes in recycling and others do not.

With our new 2020 service we will be able to collect clean empty pizza boxes. You can read more about the new service here.

Recycle right – quick tips:

By recycling correctly you’re not only helping keep our streets clean, but reducing Hamilton’s waste to landfill.

  • Recycle plastic 1 and 2, glass, tin, cans and paper and cardboard packaging
  • Wash and squash all containers
  • Paper and card need to be separated out, folded and tied, and placed on the side
  • Don’t overfill your crate

Find out more at

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