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DS Smith shares pizza box recycling advice for Super Bowl weekend

A pile of pizza boxes
The American pizza industry estimates that 12.5 million pizzas are sold on the Super Bowl game day every year.

Super Bowl Sunday remains one of the busiest days for pizza chains. The American pizza industry estimates that 12.5 million pizzas are sold on the Super Bowl championship game day every year, and DS Smith wants everybody to know what to do with all those used pizza boxes.

The answer is simple: pizza boxes are 100 percent recyclable. 

To clear up confusion, the major associations that provide research data to the corrugated industry, such as Fiber Box, the American Forest & Paper Association and the Sierra Club, all report that those empty boxes can be added to curbside recycling.

Recovered fibres from pizza boxes can be reused as many as 10 times by paper and packaging companies to make new boxes, divert waste from landfills and incinerators and toward local recycling facilities. An increase in recycling contributes to a circular economy where the material is reused as much as possible to extract its maximum value.

"We work closely with the major paper and packaging associations and municipalities to ensure that we're letting the public know about the importance and urgent need for recovered fibre," said Toby Earnest, director of recycling for DS Smith North America. "I can say with 100 percent confidence that an increase in recycled items like pizza boxes results in an increased amount of recyclable fibres that will go into new packaging, ensuring that we generate a smaller carbon footprint by diverting these sustainable materials away from landfills."

In response to escalated consumer demand, DS Smith has stepped up production of its recyclable pizza pad, an insert for use under the pies in boxes. The packaging company said it sells 165 million pads each year, including a burst in production in the runup to the NFL championship game.

The 100 percent recyclable and sustainable pizza pad marks an example of the company's renewable, fiber-based packaging solutions for both traditional and e-commerce retailers, covering wine boxes and ready-meal trays to cardboard coolers and fresh fruit trays. 

Pizza is not the only food in demand on Super Bowl Sunday. Another menu staple of many chains–chicken wings–is also expected to surge in demand. The National Chicken Council says Americans will devour 1.42 billion wings this Sunday, a two percent jump over last year.

DS Smith's Greencoat technology is used by some of the largest poultry processors to safely ship chicken wings all over the country, ensuring the boxes survive the harsh, wet, and cold supply chain and can then be recycled versus landfilled.
DS Smith's packaging products are designed using its circular design principles, which were developed in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. All of DS Smith's 700 designers have been trained on how to apply the principles to design packaging solutions fit for the circular economy, and help its customers reach their corporate sustainability and ESG goals.
DS Smith's products stem in part from its $140 million circular economy research and development program that supports the company's pledge to offer all its customers 100 percent recyclable packaging within the next two years and for all its packaging to be recycled or reused by 2030.

Company info

720 Laurel St.,
Reading, PA
US, 19602


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