Incorporation of post-consumer pizza boxes in the recovered fiber stream: Impacts of grease on finished product quality, TAPPI Journal March 2021

Application: Implementation of this work will increase the available amount of high-quality post-consumer fiber. The current work is an important step towards the creation of a true circular economy.

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Incorporation of post-consumer pizza boxes in the recovered
ABSTRACT: Grease and cheese contamination of used pizza boxes has led to misunderstanding and controversy about the recyclability of pizza boxes. Some collection facilities accept pizza boxes while others do not. The purpose of this study is to determine whether typical grease or cheese contamination levels associated with pizza boxes impact finished product quality. Grease (from vegetable oil) and cheese are essentially hydrophobic and in sufficiently high concentration could interfere with interfiber bonding, resulting in paper strength loss.Findings from this study will be used to determine the viability of recycling pizza boxes at current and future con-centrations in old corrugated containers (OCC) recovered fiber streams. These findings will also be used to inform the acceptability of pizza boxes in the recycle stream and educate consumers about acceptable levels of grease or cheese residue found on these recycled boxes.

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