compost pizza boxes

How To Compost Pizza Boxes: This Is The Best Advice You’ll Get

You just polished off a delicious pizza, and now you’re left with the box. What do you do? Recycle it? Compost it? In this blog post, we will explore the best ways to deal with pizza boxes! This will include the benefits of both recycling and composting pizza boxes and provide tips on how to dispose of them correctly. Read on for the details!

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A general rule of composting is that if it was once alive, then it can be composted! Since pizza boxes are almost always made of cardboard, which comes from trees, they are a fantastic material to use for composting.

Cardboard pizza boxes are rich in carbon, which is essential for a healthy compost pile! Many people attempt to compost simply by throwing all of their kitchen scraps into a pile. Then they expect it to turn into beautiful compost.

But this doesn’t work because kitchen scraps are very high in nitrogen. While this is great for feeding bacteria and speeding up the composting process, but it can quickly lead to an imbalance in your compost pile.

Adding cardboard (and other brown materials) to your compost pile helps to offset the high nitrogen levels of kitchen scraps. This creates a healthy environment for decomposition.

Just make sure that your pizza box is “naked” cardboard, without any plastic or foil lining, which cannot be composted.


There are two schools of thought about whether recycling is better than composting when it comes to pizza boxes.

The first is that recycling process takes up precious energy and resources. Recycling bins require plastic. A truck has to use up fuel to come pick up the recycling. Machinery requires power to do the actual recycling process.

But if you keep pizza boxes at home and compost them, they turn into a beautiful, rich soil amendment that is great for your yard and garden. If you think in those terms, then it seems obvious that composting is the better option.

But the other perspective is that recycling allows the cardboard material to be reused again and again! This reduces the need to harvest more resources to create more pizza boxes and other cardboard products, lessening the problem of deforestation.

Ultimately, you have to decide what’s most important to you and make your choice about recycling vs. composting based on that!

The one caveat to this question is that in order to be eligible for recycling, pizza boxes must be clean and dry! If your pizza box is greasy or has a lot of food stuck to it, then it’s best to compost it rather than recycle it. Food and grease can contaminate the recycling process, so keeping those materials out of the mix will help make sure that your recyclable products are actually recycled!

A little bit of grease is fine, but if the box is excessively greasy or there’s a lot of food stuck to it, then it’s best to compost it.

If part of the box is too dirty to recycle, but the rest of it is clean, simply cut off the greasy/dirty part for composting, and recycle the rest.


Your pizza box will not compost very quickly if you simply toss it into your compost pile as-is. If you want it to break down in a timely manner, you’ll need to complete a few steps first:

  • Remove all labels, stickers, or glue, as much as possible. These items will not compost well.
  • Soak the pizza boxes in water. This will make it easier to rip up into smaller pieces. Try to let it soak for at least a few hours, if not a day or two.
  • Cut or shred the cardboard pizza box into small pieces. This will help it to decompose more quickly by creating more surface area for the worms and other microorganisms. They’ll have more room to work their magic!
  • Add the soaked, shredded pieces to your compost pile!


If you follow the appropriate steps of soaking and shredding your pizza boxes prior to composting, you can expect to decompose at a similar rate to other materials in your compost pile.

This, of course, depends on what method you use to compost! In a hot compost bin, it will decompose as quickly as a few weeks. A compost tumbler may take a few months. But open air composting may take as long as a year for the pizza box to totally disappear!


These are just a few simple tips to help you determine the best way to dispose of your pizza box. The debate between composting and recycling may never be solved. But either one is a far better choice than tossing it in the trash to eventually wind up in the landfill. The next time you enjoy a takeout pizza, you’ll be able to make a much more educated decision about what to do with the box!

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