You can’t recycle pizza boxes — But these NJ farms will find use for them
BORDENTOWN — Maybe you'd be more likely to eat your vegetables if you knew they were grown with the help of pizza.
Or at least the waste discarded by families after enjoying pizza.
A few farms in the area are utilizing used pizza boxes to improve their growing processes. A designated donation bin for these boxes, located near major roadways, was crafted with the help of the city's Green Team, and fills up quite quickly for the farms that work on a rotating pickup schedule.
"When we open the box it's filled to the brim and there's boxes stack up on the side of it," said Gabriel Siciliano, owner and operator of Abe's Acres Farm in Highstown.
The farm uses the pizza boxes for weed suppression; Sicilano said they can build beds on top of the boxes as well.
"It's all biodegradable, it goes right back into the soil, and it helps us do less cultivating, less weeding," Siciliano said.
Pizza boxes with oily residue actually aren't recyclable. You may place them in your single-stream recycling bin, but they're eventually rejected at the recycling facility.
So farmers and the city worked together on a different way to reuse the waste — Project Pizza Box. Siciliano said the bin is located at Carslake Community Center.
"Keeping pizza boxes out of the landfills and just reducing waste is such a big proponent of trying to farm responsibly," said Jess Brandeisky, the CSA manager at Fernbrook Farms in Chesterfield.
By using boxes to line dirt walkways between crops, Brandeisky said, the farm can avoid weeding in those areas "pretty much for the rest of the season."
"It helps in our efforts for sustainability," she said. "The more a farmer tills or uses equipment to churn up soil, that releases carbon into the atmosphere. It can also degrade your soil structure."
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.