Deliveroo offers solution to help keep pizza boxes recyclable

Deliveroo has today announced steps to tackle a major recycling problem that means many consumers are either unable to, or are wrongly trying to recycle their used pizza boxes.

Polling released today reveals the majority of Brits do not realise they could be unwittingly contaminating the recycling chain with pizza boxes with food or grease still on the box, thereby undermining efforts to reduce waste and recycle.

This comes as new polling has found that, while the majority of the UK public think they are well informed about recycling (73%, vs 9% who feel they are uninformed), the majority of them (58% vs 42%) do not know that greasy pizza boxes cannot be recycled. The figures are even worse for 18-24 year olds, with 66% not realising that boxes stained with oil or remnants of pizza can’t be put into the recycling bin (vs 34% who know).

While pizza boxes are traditionally made of 100% recyclable materials, many consumers do not realise that if the boxes become stained with excess food or grease then they cannot be recycled and risk contaminating the rest of the recycling if they are added to the recycling.

In response, Deliveroo is helping its pizza restaurant partners to tackle this problem by making 100,000 biodegradable greaseproof paper inserts available for free. Partners will be able to request the inserts, which prevent grease getting into the base of the pizza box ensuring the box can be fully recycled. The inserts make it easier to recycle the boxes and helps pizzas travel better, meaning it arrives at a hungry customer’s in top condition and ready to recycle.

Pizza partners in Deliveroo Editions, the company’s delivery only super kitchens, will all use the biodegradable inserts and Deliveroo will be working with its pizza partners to trial the inserts.

Joseph Moore, Founder of Pizza Outlet Crust Bros, said, “Small changes can make a big difference. We’re delighted to support efforts to make it easier to recycle the box after people have enjoyed our delicious pizzas. We take time to ensure our pizzas meet the highest standards so its important to apply those same standards to the packaging we use too.”

Anne Main MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Prevention of Plastic Waste, said, “This is a really positive step from Deliveroo. Not only will this increase the number of pizza boxes that are recycled, it will also help to educate more people about what can and can’t be recycled.

“Taking proactive steps like this will help to reduce the number of pizza boxes that would have been recycled from being put into general waste. I hope all pizza restaurants on the Deliveroo platform will use the greaseproof paper and we see a real change in our recycling habits across the country.”

Deliveroo UK and Ireland Managing Director Dan Warne said, 'We want every meal we deliver to be an amazing experience. That means bringing great food direct to your doorstep but also ensuring the packaging is helping the planet too.

“Many people are surprised to find out how the food from you pizza can hinder your ability to recycle the box after you have eaten. so we are working on an initiative to. We hope by working with our partners to make this small change and by helping informing consumers, we will save your pizza box from landfill.”

The goods news is that Brits are aware of the impact their eating and shopping habits can have on the environment, and are committed to recycling whenever and whatever they can. Nearly half of the public (49%) take the time to consider whether an item they are buying and its packaging can be recycled (17% don’t take the time to consider), whilst 71% say they recycle ‘all the time’ (24% sometimes recycle, 3% rarely recycle and 2% never recycle).

While they were confused about recycling pizza boxes they were much better informed in other areas. More than 60% of people correctly identified that deodorant & hairspray cans (61% vs 39%) and empty bleach bottles (66% vs 34%) can be recycled. Similarly, the majority of people know that crisp packets (62% vs 38%) and straws (52% vs 48%) can’t. But 51% of Brits mistakenly believe that unrinsed shampoo bottles and food containers should be put into household recycling (42% know they can’t be recycled), whilst an equal proportion of people (47%) think they can and can’t put plastic bags in the green bin.