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#AskJAXTDY: Can I recycle my pizza boxes? 

Published on July 20, 2023 at 11:34 am

Q: After we reported that the city of Jacksonville is sending out recycle bin inspectors to warn people about their verboten items, Jacksonville Today newsletter reader Judy J. responded with a couple of questions. 

First off, Judy wants a short list of the major things the city can recycle. And she asked: 

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“I was told that pizza boxes are okay if they do not have crusty food waste in them. Are greasy spots also not acceptable?”

“Like most of us, I am anxious to do the right thing,” says Judy, who lives in Atlantic Beach.

A: First up, thanks to the city’s solid waste quick reference guide, here are some things that you CAN recycle in Jacksonville: 

  1. Corrugated cardboard, flattened and cut into pieces 2 by 3 feet or smaller (🙋Who else has definitely skipped the step of cutting your boxes up?) 
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  3. Paper: Mail, office and school papers, paperback books, catalogs, etc. 
  4. Cartons: Milk. Broth. Juice. Throw them all in.
  5. Plastic containers: ONLY with numbers 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 on them inside the little swirly triangle arrow symbol. (Sorry, 4 and 6.) These should be rinsed out and allowed to dry before throwing in the bin.
  6. Glass: Green, brown or clear bottles only. No lids. 
  7. Metal: Steel or aluminum food containers are A-OK. Again, please rinse first. 
All OK here?

Before we answer that pizza box question, a note on plastic bags: Stop putting them in the recycle bin. Period. That means no bag full of grocery bags and above all, do not bag your recyclables in plastic garbage bags. Instead, just throw everything loose into the bin. Bags are not recyclable in the city’s system, and they gum up the works for the things that are. 

OK, about those pizza boxes. 

We posed Judy. J’s question to city officials, and here’s the response:

“Portions of a pizza box or any other cardboard food container that has food or grease should be discarded,” a city spokesman said. “ Often the top portion of a pizza box is clean cardboard and can be removed/separated from the bottom contaminated portion of the box and recycled.”

There you have it, just in time for the weekend. 


Have a question you’d like the Jacksonville Today team to look into? Email news@jaxtoday.org with #AskJAXTDY in the subject line, and you might see your answer soon.


author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter. author image Editor Jessica Palombo is editor of Jacksonville Today Jacksonville is her hometown.
author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter. author image Editor Jessica Palombo is editor of Jacksonville Today Jacksonville is her hometown.

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