Think melted mozzarella, tasty toppings and crust with just the right amount of crisp. There's no denying that the delivery or take-home pizza is a crowd pleaser in most homes and businesses, whether you break bread with carnivores, vegetarians or vegans, or crave extra sauce or a simple white pie. But as every college student knows, used pizza boxes can quickly pile up.
Cardboard pizza boxes don't fit easily in trash and recycle bins, and many recyclers don't accept them because of the food residue or awkward size. They aren't necessarily easy to break down, and they can leak grease unto your floors or on your clothes.
Now, a New York City-based green design firm -- environmentally conscious organization, inc. (eco for short) -- has a so-simple-it's-genius solution: the Green Box! The concept looks like a standard cardboard pizza box that comes pre-perforated.
When your pizza arrives, you can easily tear the top of the box into four makeshift disposable plates. The bottom of the box is also perforated on the edges and down the middle, so you can easily fold that part into a small container that fits a few slices -- giving you a convenient place to store leftovers in your fridge, without having to juggle around everything else. In fact, the leftover box is a pinch less than half the size of a full pizza box.
And perhaps the best part of this patented invention is that fact that the Green Box is made from 100% recycled cardboard. There is also the option for a vegetable-based coating.
"Our goal is to increase the functionality of packaging and to eliminate or reduce follow-on waste [additional materials like tin foil, plastic bags or plastic wrap]," eco inc.'s Jennifer Wright recently explained about the Green Box, her company's first product. Since consumers have a built-in storage device for any leftovers, they won't need to fool with extra materials. And since the box can become handy serving plates, that will cut down on water and energy needed for dish washing.
Wright -- one of three partners at eco inc. -- explains that since the Green Box is made out of standard pizza box material, there is no need for retooling factories or changing the way pizza shops do business. In fact, she says that the boxes can be purchased for the same price as -- or possibly less than -- conventional boxes, since according to Wright the recycled fiber needed to make them costs less.
The Green Box can also be used as marketing for pizza shops, who can tout the greener footprint, as well as innovative packaging and (at least for a while) novelty.
"Three billion pizza boxes are used in the U.S. every year," said Wright. "If you stacked them on top of each other, in two years you'd reach the moon We feel like we're doing our part for the environment, one pizza box at a time."
According to Wright the Green Box is getting a wide roll out across America over the next few weeks. "There's been interest from all over, and it's really exciting," Wright told The Daily Green. She said consumers should look for them in their local pizza shops over the coming months, and to ask businesses to consider carrying them if they don't.
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