Green Movement at Universities Falls Short with Pizza

Of course, it’s common knowledge that everybody loves pizza. Where that love turns into infatuation is on college campuses.

Students at universities nationwide eat pizza for snacks, lunch, dinner, and if they’re leftovers, cold pizza for breakfast is an ideal hangover cure.

College students also love to recycle, as Generation Z claims to be the greenest of all. Their goal is to take the environmental movement beyond recycling … the big exception is the conundrum of composting pizza boxes.

The problem with pizza boxes is not just a campus issue, as most U.S. cities don’t even allow the boxes into the recycling stream. The greasy, stained boxes contaminate the entire cardboard slurry in the water-based recycling system.

As a result, empty pizza boxes pile up outside dorm rooms and in every campus dumpster, which drives students crazy. In recent years, students have started pizza box composting programs at schools, such as Smith College (Mass.) and Miami University in Ohio. Both programs didn’t last.zza-box

One determined group of green students at North Carolina State University implemented the first successful pizza box composting program. The school placed composting dumpsters around the campus emblazoned with giant pizza logos to attract attention. The program works because it sends the stained cardboard to a large composting facility that’s able to mix the boxes with copious amounts of leftover food scraps.

Unfortunately, this effort is a rare success story. Almost a third of about 700 universities have reported that they have a composting program. But these are primarily focused on collecting discarded cafeteria food.

The holy grail of composting though centers on solving the pizza box challenge … sounds like a good start-up idea for a smart, young, entrepreneurial college student?

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