Big Apple Is Going to Lengths to Recycle Those Pizza Boxes

The containers of the city's most iconic food is getting its own personal recycling bin
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2024 6:15 PM CDT
Only in New York: A Recycling Bin for Pizza Boxes
Pizza boxes, now hopefully destined for their own special recycling bins, in this 2022 file photo in New York City.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

New York City might as well be called the Big Pizza instead of the Big Apple, and Central Park is taking a rather unprecedented step toward recycling the boxes that hold that favorite pie: a recycling bin specifically designed to accept pizza boxes. "People want to do the right thing, they want to recycle, and we're just giving them a better opportunity to do so," Betsy Smith, the Central Park Conservancy's chief executive, tells the New York Times. The drivers of the move:

  • Shape: "The traditional circular waste bins are simply not designed to accommodate the boxes, leading to jammed cans that can attract rodents," Central Park Conservancy spokesperson Kat Brady tells NBC New York. "On a warm busy day, the conservancy can remove more than 100 boxes in this area of the park alone."

  • Misconceptions: Those greasy boxes are recyclable, though people don't think they are. As the Times reports, you just take out any waxed paper and precious bits of pizza you failed to consume, and you have a recyclable box.
  • Rats: Aside from humans, guess who likes pizza? The city's famed rats. Getting those boxes recycled quickly could tie into the city's rat mitigation efforts. NYC Mayor Eric Adams had this to say, per NBC: "With rat sightings down nearly 14% in our city's Rat Mitigation Zones year over year, we continue to make progress, but we're not stopping there."
(More pizza stories.)

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