Pizza boxes can be recycled, but many WV cities reject them

Senator Shelly Moore Capito gets to the bottom of the debate at Environment and Public Works Committee hearing
Senator Capito gets to the bottom of the debate at an EPW hearing Wednesday
Senator Capito gets to the bottom of the debate at an EPW hearing Wednesday(WDTV)
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 12:03 AM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - It’s a question as old as the pizza box itself - can they be recycled?

According to US Senator Shelly Moore Capito (R, WV), it’s also a question that her staff has been mulling over prior to her hearing with experts on a circular economy.

Addressing an Executive Director at the American Forest & Paper Association, Brian Hawkinson, she asked, “Are pizza boxes recyclable?”

With a chuckle, Hawkinson responded, “Yes, and thank you for asking that question. I think this is one of the remaining urban legends surrounding recycling.”

However, whether pizza can be recycled and if cities allow them to be recycled have two different answers.

For example, the City of Buckhannon says pizza boxes will not be accepted as recycling. Morgantown does not accept pizza boxes if they have food waste attached. Fairmont also will not accept pizza boxes in their recycling centers.

Not collecting certain items might not be a matter of choice, but manpower for some municipalities. Senator Capito also asked about solutions to potential employee shortages in trash collecting. She noted that even her hometown of Charleston couldn’t afford recycling.

“They don’t have the manpower, the funds to be able to transport and figure out what to do with this. I would imagine in rural America this is a huge problem,” said Capito.

William Johnson from the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries says feeder yards could be a potential solution. A feeder yard collects recycling form multiple different areas and streamlines the process so less employees are needed in each city.

Wednesday’s hearing also featured questions on China’s policy towards accepting materials from the United States and emerging recycling technologies. To watch Senator Capito’s questions and the panels answers you can visit the EPW GOP YouTube page.

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