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DS Smith to tackle pizza box recycling ahead of Superbowl Sunday

A pile of pizza boxes
There are 12.5 million pizzas expected to be sold on Sunday, February 12. Pixabay

Most pizza lovers stocking up for the NFL championship game know their leftover boxes can be recycled but an alarming 40 percent say they don't always do so.

That's the main finding of a national survey by DS Smith, which said pizza boxes are indeed 100 percent recyclable. Pizza boxes can be easily recycled provided any crumbs and cheese are removed before they go into recycling bins.

There are 12.5 million pizzas expected to be sold on Sunday, February 12. That's almost enough material to stretch from the Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia to the Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and back.

In the run-up to the NFL's Big Game between those two teams, DS Smith is calling on all fans to properly dispose of their boxes.

"We are driven to make changes both big and small in how the packaging industry operates to contribute to a more sustainable future," says Melanie Galloway, vice president of sales, marketing, and innovation at DS Smith. "Part of that mission includes educating consumers on what they can do to be part of the solution too, even something as simple as being sure to recycle your pizza boxes."

The company survey, which took place on January 27 to 30, found that two-thirds (67 percent) of adults believe pizza boxes are recyclable – ranking fifth among a list of popular items. Leading the way is plastic water bottles, with 88 percent of respondents saying they can be recycled. Next came newspapers or magazines (82 percent) and glass jars and milk cartons (both at 75 percent).

Even with high recognition among consumers that pizza containers should go into recyclable trash, three of five adults say they don't always do so – with 19 percent saying they never do, 11 percent only sometimes, and 10 percent rarely.

Still, a majority of those surveyed – 60 percent – responded that they recycle, with 43 percent saying they always do so and 17 percent saying most of the time.

DS Smith wants all consumers to know that pizza boxes can be recycled – important because any increase in recycling contributes to a circular economy designed to replace problem plastics, take carbon out of supply chains, and prove innovative recycling solutions.

Recovered fibres can be reused as many as 10 times by paper and packaging companies to make new boxes, diverting waste from landfills and incinerators, and toward local recycling facilities.

For its part, DS Smith produces a recyclable pizza pad, an insert under the pies used in boxes by pizza brands. The packaging company sells millions of the pads each year, recording a burst in production amid the frenzy of the football season's final weeks.

The customizable, 100 percent recyclable pad is flat on one side, facing the bottom of the box, and wavy on the top, keeping the pizza crust crisp and dry. That so-called fluting also helps hold the temperature in the box during deliveries, DS Smith said.

The DS Smith product marks an example of the company's fibre-based packaging products for both traditional and e-commerce retailers, covering wine boxes and ready-meal trays to cardboard coolers and fresh fruit trays.

Company info

720 Laurel St.,
Reading, PA
US, 19602


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