- Pizza box composting is catching on at colleges where many consumers of the gooey pies go, creating a way to keep the soiled cardboard waste out of landfills. Institutions like North Carolina State University have started disposing the boxes through a campus initiative called the Pizza Box Composting Project. Grand Valley State University, Miami University of Ohio, and others have followed suit.
- North Carolina State University in Raleigh has one of the more robust programs. Dumpsters with giant pizza emblems are placed outside of dorms to encourage composting.
- As pizza box composting catches on, the volume of boxes diverted from landfills is adding up. NC State’s Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling said in a Technician article that the school composted 8,700 pizza boxes from March 2014 to March 2015 at a commercial composting facility that can handle the university’s volume. The plan is economically feasible, said Recycling Manager Analis Fulghum, as staff are reducing landfill trips.
Industry pizza giant Domino’s delivers about 200 million pizzas a year nationwide but says the boxes they come in rarely get recycled as municipalities ban the practice to avoid dealing with the grease and cheese. However, as pizza box composting catches on, the volume of boxes diverted from landfills is adding up.
"A lot of campuses are recognizing that waste diversion goes beyond just recycling," said Meghan Zahniser, executive director of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, to The Wall Street Journal.
Whether it’s pizza boxes or other food or packaging waste, more than 200 of 700 higher-education institutions are composting in some fashion, Zahniser’s association reports.
Many universities are promoting waste disposal and recycling efforts in other manners, as well. The GameDay Recycling Challenge has colleges and universities competing to see which can recycle the most items, such as glass bottles and food packaging, at stadiums and tailgates. At Stanford University, students can sign up for the "Deskside Recycling and Mini Trash Bin Program," which is helping the university comply with California's goal of 75% recycling by 2020.