A mobile pizzeria in Cork, Ireland, wants to “save the planet one pizza box at a time” with reusable and recyclable pizza boxes from the German innovator, PIZZycle.

Volcano Wood-Fired Pizza announced last week that it will be the first in Ireland to offer PIZZycle’s reusable pizza boxes. The boxes essentially pay for themselves when customers continue to use them, according to a post on Instagram.

Volcano regulars can purchase a PIZZycle box for €10, and they’ll receive a €1 discount on the next 10 pies they buy.

“These lovely boxes keep your pizza toasty warm and tasty and cut out the need for single-use cardboard,” Volcano noted on Instagram. “They are not only reusable but are also 100% recyclable.”

As PMQ has previously reported, PIZZycle started as a student project at the University of Art and Design in Offenbach, Germany. Since many recycling centers still don’t accept standard cardboard pizza boxes, which end up in landfills, Marlene Bruch and Luise Hornbach set out to invent a recyclable pizza box in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The challenge was to create a solution for a problem that has emerged with the new worldwide situation,” Bruch told PMQ in May 2020. “We decided to look into the outcomes of restaurant closings and what effects this had on takeaway waste. We discovered that pizza boxes make up 22% of German takeaway waste and that they cannot be recycled! This led us to design a reusable pizza box.”

this photo shows two stacks of dark-red PIZZycle pizza boxes stacked on a table. In front of the table is a sign announcing Ireland's first reusable pizza box

Volcano Wood-Fired Pizza / Instagram

PIZZycle’s boxes are made with high-quality polypropylene, a type of sturdy plastic that can be recycled. “PIZZycle consists of two identical plates, which allows the user to nest and stack the box,” Bruch noted. “This way, pizza restaurants are finally able to adapt to a reusable pizza box without having to worry about limitations in storage. Additionally, the identical plates and the innovative lock mechanism enable the user to easily carry and open a reusable box with 13 inches in diameter.”

PIZZycle has been making steady headway in the European pizzeria industry, adopted by Domino’s for a pilot program at select locations in Germany and by Kotipizza, the largest pizza chain in Scandinavia, which started testing the boxes last year. Independent pizzerias like L.A. Signorina in Stuttgart and Fat Tony’s Pizza in Frankfurt have also begun using PIZZycle’s reusable, recyclable pizza boxes.

Volcano is a fixture at farmers markets throughout the Cork area, including the Mahon Point Farmers Market, Middleton Farmers Market and Douglas Farmers Market, and also makes appearances on weekends and during school holidays at Fota Wildlife Park. The mobile pizzeria’s menu includes an Irish-style pepperoni pizza featuring local Gubbeen Smokehouse Chorizo, fior di latte and a Sicilian sauce; a Hawaiian pie topped with pineapple and ham from Woodside Farm; and the Iberico Chorizo, which also includes pickled jalapeños and crème fraiche.

There is some controversy over the recyclability of pizza boxes. In July 2020, the American Forest & Paper Association and member company Westrock released a study that found used pizza boxes can be recycled even if they contain stuck-on cheese or grease. However, as PMQ reported in February 2023, many recycling centers across the U.S. still don’t accept them.

Related: Kotipizza: Will dynamic pricing change the pizza delivery model?