We tend to make homemade pizza more than we order out, but we have been known to partake in Sizzle Pie – an awesome local pizza joint with seriously addictive salads, regular pizza and vegan pizza, and when we do order from them, the pizza boxes pose a problem. We do attempt to recycle them, but who knows if those pizza boxes really get recycled or not.
For one thing, though pizza boxes seem pretty recyclable, they’re not. Earth 911 notes that all that leftovers grease, cheese and other food scraps can contaminate the paper recycling process, costing the recycler a lot of money to recycle said products and degrading the quality of recycled paper products.You also have to remove all food scraps, cheese clumps plastic spacers, foil and wax paper before you toss the box in your recycle bin, and even then there’s no guarantee that your pizza box will be recycled.
Is Pi Pan the solution?
Pi Pan is made of ultra-thin NSF certified food-grade stainless steel and is lightweight yet durable. It obviously outlives the typical pizza box by 1,000+ uses and could be an excellent solution for some pizza venues. According to Good News Reuse, Pi Pan has the following benefits:
- Attractive, clean, simple design
- Able to withstand high heat but has a cool to touch rim for handling
- Replaces single-use food containers and is 100% recyclable at any point in its lifecycle
- BPA free
- Adapts easily into existing restaurant flows
- Multi-use for holding, transporting, reheating, serving
- Fully stackable for minimal storage
- No assembly required
- Keeps pizza hotter longer than a traditional cardboard box
- Doesn’t retain or impart flavors, no cardboard taste
At first I was confused about how this could even work. Will the pizza place just give away containers? Then I read that Good News Reuse plans to initially roll out the reusable pizza boxes to food service companies that make regular deliveries to schools and businesses. In this case, pizzas would be dropped off in the Pi Pan, and then the pizza company could pick up the pan the following day.
It’s a decent idea and one that possibly does deserve funding, but I do see three major downsides.
- Having to go back to pick up the pans will result in gas and time waste.
- Most people order pizza on a whim, because it’s fast. I still don’t even see a majority of people with reusable grocery bags, so do I honestly think people will cart around reusable pizza pans? No, not really.
- This is not a great consumer solution. Home consumers eat the most pizza and thus produce the most pizza box waste. Earth 911 compares this to reusable grocery bags but it’s not the same. Stores are ok with reusable bags. Most food places however, freak out if you take your own container in and ask them to put food in it, because it’s considered a possible health hazard. I can’t see this helping to reduce at-home pizza box waste.
What can you do to reduce pizza box waste?
Well, you can cook at home more. Homemade pizza is easy, tastes good and can be made ahead of time and frozen so you can still eat pizza on a whim. Kids LOVE making homemade pizza and in fact, you can even grow a fun pizza garden. See some recipes below.
- Homemade Organic Pizza Sauce and Pizza
- Homemade Organic Pizza Dough
- A guilt-free (and delicious!) homemade pizza
- Homemade Veggie Pizza
- Homemade Vegan Pizza
Eat less pizza. Do you really need a whole darn pizza? Stop by the pizza parlor, order a slice and ask them to wrap it in foil to go.
Make pizza day an event not a norm. If you’re going to have pizza, one find a joint you LOVE and eat there once in a while. Take the whole family out, skip the delivery and box and have a fun family meal on real dishes at the pizza place.
If you remove the oil soaked portion of your box, you can recycle or compost it.
Make an awesome Pizza box Chalkboard and Whiteboard Easel for every kid you know or try some other reuse project.
See more ways to green your take-out food experience