Pizza box composting a success at NC State

Nearly 4,000 boxes have been composted since the program started this spring.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Since its implementation this spring, the Pizza Box Composting Project created by NC State Waste Reduction and Recycling has composted about 3,789 pizza boxes to date and shows no signs of slowing down, according to Lauren McKinnis, the outreach coordinator for NC State Waste Reduction and Recycling.

Because of this new program, NC State now composts an average of 370 tons per year.

In 2010, University Dining found that 70 percent of the waste produced by Fountain Dining Hall was compostable, so

University Dining began a composting initiative in the dining halls. Although the composting initiative has contributed to the sustainability program at NC State, it was mostly done without students’ knowledge.

The Pizza Box Composting Project was created not only as a way for NC State to divert waste from landfills and compost more, but also to get more students directly involved in composting.

“When we first began researching the idea for the Pizza Box Composting Project, we found that many colleges have similar composting centers and programs, but there were few colleges with specific sites for composting pizza boxes,” McKinnis said.

The composting centers, which are green dumpsters with the image of a pizza painted on the side, were originally placed only behind the Bragaw and Metcalf residence halls. The project has since expanded to include composting sites at the Avent Ferry complex, Wolf Village, Wolf Ridge and in Greek Village to bring the total number of composting sites to six.

“The project has been very successful,” McKinnis said.

Currently the program sends the pizza boxes to a private composter due to the difficulty in running an effective composting site. At this location the boxes are converted into usable compost.

Contaminants such as plastic utensils and cups cannot be composted. These items still often end up in the

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