According to the MIchigan news sit
“No pizza boxes in recycling? That’s what it says on the 40,000 recycling carts Grand Rapids sanitation officials hoped to finish distributing this week. But that’s not exactly what the city means.
It means if you’re a greenie who wants to recycle the empty pizza box that won’t fit into your trash can, you have to toss the greasy liner and scrape off any leftover cheese.The rather large label on the city’s new recycling carts repeats age-old requirements that even officials concede can be whittled to a finer point, especially for those serious about recycling.
Corrugated cardboard pizza boxes are prime candidates for recycling — as long as they are free of grease and food, which officials say can contaminate entire batches of recycled cardboard.
Nationally, about $700 million annually in added expense is created by those who don’t follow rules for how to prep products for recycling, according to industry experts.
A little bit of mozzarella and mushroom doesn’t totally mess up the system, but clean materials in the bin reduce the chances of an end-product contaminated with food residue or four-legged critters seeking a snack.
‘I’m sure they’ll be some confusion,’ said James Hurt, Grand Rapids public service director. ‘I doubt that our drivers are going to be pulling pizza boxes out of the carts.’
The county’s new recycling center employs a single-stream system, meaning residents no longer have to sort recyclables; they can put them all in a single cart. However, the same rules about cleaning containers, removing paper labels and metal caps still apply.
‘We were trying to keep it as simple as possible,’ Hurt said. “For most people who have been recycling a long time, I’m sure they understand that materials have to be as clean as is reasonably possible.’
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Doug Wood, Kent County’s director of public works, said it’s the grease on pizza boxes that they are trying to keep out of the system. During the recycling process, cardboard is mixed with water to create a slurry, and oil and water don’t mix.
‘It’s not going to screw everything up,” Wood said. “If you think about the volume of material, a bale weighs 1,800 pounds, but it can affect the quality of the product you’re selling.’
‘That’s a lot of cardboard,’ she said.”

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