Everyone knows that pizza is one of the four main food groups on college campuses (along with beer, ramen noodles and Twizzlers). From a health perspective, it's not the worst thing college students could eat, especially if they cough up the extra $1.50 and add a veggie topping. But one of the biggest issues about all that pizza consumption is the waste it creates.
Unlike most cardboard, pizza boxes can't be recycled because they are usually covered in grease and cheese. But students on a North Carolina college campus have found a solution to those overflowing mounds of pizza boxes.
In March 2014, North Carolina State University launched the pizza box composting pilot program. While recycling is not an option for pizza boxes, composting is. Composting programs can handle any organic material — including greasy boxes, paper plates and pizza crust — turning them all into nutrient-rich fertilizer for soil.
In its first year, the program collected 8,700 boxes across campus. According to NC State's Waste Reduction and Recycling Office, the program began with two dumpsters but was so popular that the university quickly tripled the size and scope of the program, adding four more dumpsters across campus. By last fall, a total of 16,000 pizza boxes had successfully been turned to fertilizer, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Students at NC State's EcoVillage, an on-campus housing community of students interested in living sustainably, helped to promote the program by painting pizzas on the composting dumpsters, hosting an informational pizza party, and creating the marketing video shown above.
Lauren McKinnis, outreach coordinator for NC State's Waste Reduction and Recycling Office, says the program has been popular both on-campus and around the country. McKinnis told the Charlotte Observer that she fields at least one call a week from colleges around the country hoping to implement a similar programs.
Pizza without the waste? Sounds like a slice of heaven.