A packaging company with a facility in Reading is encouraging football fans to recycle their leftover pizza boxes after Super Bowl Sunday.
London-based DS Smith — which has a paper mill, box manufacturing and recycling operation in Reading — issued that recommendation after conducting a national survey that found nearly one third of respondents “rarely” or “never” recycle their pizza boxes.
In a press release, DS Smith stressed that pizza boxes are indeed 100% recyclable, and can be easily recycled after crumbs and cheese are removed.
The release said 12.5 million pizzas are expected to be sold on Sunday, Feb. 12 — almost enough 12-by-12-inch boxes to stretch from the Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia to the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City — and back.
“We are driven to make changes both big and small in how the packaging industry operates to contribute to a more sustainable future,” said Melanie Galloway, DS Smith vice president of sales, marketing and innovation. “Part of that mission includes educating consumers on what they can do to be part of the solution too.”
The online poll of 1,221 respondents was conducted Jan. 27-30 by research firm Dynata.
While 67% of those surveyed said they believe pizza boxes can be recycled, three of five adults say they don’t always do so. Asked whether they always, sometimes, rarely, or never recycle their pizza boxes — 19% said they never do, 11% said only sometimes and 10% said rarely, according to the release.
However, a majority of those surveyed — 60% — said they do recycle their pizza boxes, with 43% saying they always do so and 17% saying most of the time.
DS Smith said that any increase in recycling contributes to a circular economy designed to replace problem plastics, take carbon out of supply chains and prove innovative recycling solutions.
Recovered fibers can be reused as many as 10 times by paper and packaging companies to make new boxes, diverting waste from landfills and incinerators and toward local recycling facilities, DS Smith noted.
The company produces a recyclable pizza pad, an insert under the pies used by national pizza brands to keep crusts crisp and ensure pizzas stay hot during deliveries.
DS Smith said it sells millions of the pads each year, recording a burst in production amid the frenzy of the football season’s final weeks.
The company brands itself as a seller of sustainable packaging solutions, with the aim of eliminating waste and reusing resources.
DS Smith first opened its facility at 850 Laurel Street in Reading in March of 2020.
Ginger Rae Dunbar – MediaNews Group
Packaging company DS Smith is urging people to recycle their pizza boxes following the Super Bowl. In this 2020 file photo, DS Smith officials explain the machinery that bundles recyclable fiber products at the company’s Laurel Street recycling location in Reading, during the facility’s grand opening.
DS Smith’s Reading plant is capable of recycling more than 36,000 tons of cardboard per year.