Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Councils cheesed-off at pizza box debate

Gimmie pizza - some councils are refusing to pick up pizza boxes as recycling due to the greasy mess. Photo / iStock
Gimmie pizza - some councils are refusing to pick up pizza boxes as recycling due to the greasy mess. Photo / iStock

The hot topic of whether pizza boxes should be recycled takeaways is being sliced up by cheesed-off council bosses.

Hamilton city's rubbish collection service doesn't currently sort out clean and dirty pizza boxes at kerbside.

To avoid risk of the paper and card being contaminated by food waste, pizza boxes should not be collected for recycling, the council says.

Instead, it states they should be folded and put in black rubbish bags for collection.

However, with pizza boxes having been collected in some areas for years, they are now being left behind.

Now, the issue is being looked at as part of an ongoing review of Hamilton city's kerbside rubbish collection and recycling services.

"We have never had provision for kerbside sorting of paper and card products, and our recyclers advise we need to have clean product," says council City Waters Unit Manager Andrew Parsons.

While the council acknowledges that some pizza boxes are relatively clean, a large number have "significant food waste" in them.

"If food contaminates an entire batch of paper and card there is a risk that this makes all of it unsuitable for recycling, and then the entire batch could go into landfill, which is something we want to avoid," Mr Parsons said.

"Unfortunately, at this time, pizza boxes can only be collected as part of the rubbish collection in black bags."

Mr Parsons says the council is working with contractors to see whether changes in process or new equipment may allow pizza boxes to be collected for recycling in the future.

There is currently a Waste Working Party review of the entire Hamilton City kerbside collection service.

Proposals around what may be collected, and how it will be collected, will be presented to council in the next couple of months.

- NZ Herald

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