For the past five years, my pizza-eating life has been nothing short of a lie, and all because I was unaware of the greatest pizza invention since pizza — the GreenBox. Appropriately named for its environmental friendliness, the GreenBox is an innovative pizza box that doesn't just transport pizza, but can also be used as serving ware, and even a handy dandy purse-sized leftover container. So not only can you have your pizza, you can eat it too. Could it be? Did pizza just get, dare I say it, better?
Originally introduced in 2009, this mad stroke of genius appears to flown relatively under the radar for the past five years, which is as embarrassing as it is unbelievable. Its methodology is simple and effective — the top of the box is meant to be detached and torn along its perforated lines to form four perfectly sized pizza plates. This eliminates the necessity of either paper plates or normal dish ware, saving either paper or the water you would use to run the dishwasher. Sounds pretty green to me.
But what if you can't finish that extra-large pie with every topping under the sun? You've already used the top, so have you backed yourself into a pizza-less corner? Of course not! GreenBox preempted this dilemma as well, and made sure that the remaining portion of the box could be used as a to-go container. The bottom part folds in half, which is the perfect size for storing whatever leftover pizza you may have (because let's face it, how often do you eat less than half a pizza).
Jennifer Wright, the president of GreenBox, even told the Huffington Post that the box is small enough to fit into a purse or a backpack! Gone are the days of attempting to shove a giant pizza box into a tiny refrigerator, or worse yet, a tiny recycling bin.
Better yet, the box itself is made out of "100 percent recycled and recyclable corrugated cardboard," which means that not only is your pizza satisfying your hunger, but its container is also satisfying your environmentally conscious conscience.
Thus far, HuffPost reports that GreenBox can be found in about half of Whole Foods stores in the United States, as well as Performance Food Group products. The GreenBox has also been heralded by Time as one of the "50 Best Inventions Of 2009," by New York Daily News as "The Swiss Army Knife of Pizza Boxes," and by BusinessWeek as "The Perfect Pizza Box." But despite the sheer brilliance of the idea and a multitude of press, it doesn't seem as though mainstream pizza chains like Domino's, Papa John's, or Pizza Hut, have adopted the new technology.
And considering that we throw away 3 billion single-use pizza boxes every single year, using GreenBox certainly sounds like an excellent idea.
The GreenBox comes in a wide variety of sizes, ranging from 10 inches all the way up to 18 inches. There is also a "to-go" GreenBox, affectionately nicknamed the "Doggie Box." Why, I am not so sure. But regardless of naming conventions, each of GreenBox's boxes comply with four core environmentally friendly goals — to add utility,utilize sustainable materials, reduce carbon footprints and, divert waste from landfills. All that, and of course, carrying good pizza.
The design of the GreenBox, according to the company website, "combines ... twin passions: respect for the environment (greener designs) and respect for the consumer (better designs)." And ultimately, this simply makes for a better pizza experience in general. After all, who doesn't like to play with their food (containers)?
Of course, GreenBox isn't the only under-recognized and underutilized "green" pizza box out there. The Pi Pan is another innovative design that goes a slightly different route — the reusable pizza carrier is made out of ultra-thin stainless steel, and can be reused up to 1,000 times. By eliminating the need to throw a box away, the Pi Pan "reduce(s) waste disposal costs" and "achieves not only economic, but also environmental...benefits."
As neat as the Pi Pan is, it certainly isn't the Transformers of pizza boxes like GreenBox is, and has also had a tough time catching on in the market. But even so, the possibilities around pizza inventions are endless, and I for one, am only too happy to serve as a beta tester.
So the next time you're out and about and hungry for pizza, which let's be honest, is probably every other day, see if you can scope out a GreenBox. And if not, at least you now have the creative know-how to turn your pizza box into a few plates and a leftovers container!Images: jeniwright/YouTube; Good News Reuse, GreenBox NY/Facebook