Creating Change: Anchorage Now Accepts Pizza Boxes for Recycling
Suzanna Caldwell of Anchorage, Alaska, works as the recycling coordinator for the Municipality of Anchorage Department of Solid Waste Services. In July, a friend reached out asking if she’d seen the recent study endorsed by the American Forest and Paper Association. The study, which was conducted by corrugated packaging company WestRock, stated that grease and residual cheese on pizza boxes do not impact the recycling process of the corrugated fibers. Put simply? Pizza boxes are technically recyclable, even if there’s some grease on them.
Historically, the Anchorage recycling program prohibited pizza boxes in the recycling collection, so Caldwell was intrigued by the study.
“Recycling is hard everywhere, especially in Alaska,” said Caldwell. “We are limited on what we can and cannot accept, which frustrates people in our community. The idea that we can add something to our recycling program was really exciting.”
Caldwell reached out to her partners to discuss recycling pizza boxes. The processor – where all of the recycling goes – confirmed they’d accept pizza boxes. Next, Caldwell and her team worked with Alaska Waste. Alaska Waste is the largest waste hauler in the area and collects the largest amount of recycling. Alaska Waste reviewed the study and was on board to start collecting pizza boxes.
To communicate this development to the people of Anchorage, Caldwell leaned heavily on The Recycling Partnership. The Recycling Partnership, of which Domino’s is a member, produced assets and planning documents for recycling coordinators like Caldwell to use. Domino’s, along with WestRock and Pratt Industries, another corrugated packaging company, helped fund the production of these assets with the goal of encouraging more communities to recycle pizza boxes.
The reception in Anchorage was overwhelmingly positive. People reached out to Caldwell expressing gratitude and enthusiasm for the change.
“Everyone loves pizza, and especially these days, everyone is ordering pizza, so it was great to bring them some tangible good,” said Caldwell. “It really resonated with them! Who knew our community would be saying pizza box recycling was the best news of 2020?!”
To learn more about pizza box recycling and see where your community stands (and how to help create change like the team in Anchorage!), visit recycling.dominos.com.
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