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March 25, 2009

Thinking Outside the (Pizza) Box

Catherine New
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Have you ever ripped off the lid of a pizza box to make an impromptu plate? With the Green Box, Jennifer Wright ’09 (EMBA) and her business partners at environmentally conscious organization, inc. (e.c.o.) have made the task a lot easier — changing the way we consume pizza, one box at a time.

Along with her two business partners, Wright — who is part of the Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program Master Class led by Cliff Schorer, adjunct professor and entrepreneur in residence — created the box from 100% recycled material. The top of the Green Box breaks down into four serving plates, while the bottom converts to a small storage box — perfect for that slice you’re saving for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Wright’s e.c.o. partner William Walsh is the engineering whiz behind the new box. Walsh’s aha! moment, Wright says, came in college, when as a football player he consumed his fare share of slices — only to be left with a pile of leftover boxes. Walsh, who found the boxes too unwieldy for the recycling bin, realized that they could be broken down and put to use. They just needed to be perforated in the proper places.

Eight years later, the new box is patented and ready for buyers. “It’s our entrée product,” says Wright, who along with her partners at e.c.o. is busy developing other like-minded products.

Wright attributes a large part of the product’s early success to the Greenhouse Program.

“The program has been a fantastic experience for me,” she says. “It has provided the platform to go beyond the plan and actually further develop the business, as well as the access to potential clients that would be otherwise difficult to achieve. In addition, the guidance and support offered by Professors Schorer and [Brendan] Burns has been invaluable.”


by Gayathri Narayan | March 25, 2009 at 1:28 PM

Awesome idea!! Can partner with an existing box manufacturer rather than doing everything yourself.

by Omar | March 25, 2009 at 4:15 PM

What a brilliant idea! So simple and yet clever ....

by Courtney M | March 26, 2009 at 10:41 AM

I love that this idea incorporates convenience and environmental social responsibility. I'd be willing to pay more for pizza if it means easier recycling and better storing options. It would be great to see major pizza chains buy into this idea.

by Justin | March 30, 2009 at 4:14 PM

While very clever, and well designed for it's use, there's nothing particularly eco-friendly about this. at least not over a standard recycled pizza box.

by Fred | April 03, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Not using four paper plates and then foil to save the leftovers is conservation at its best.

by Camila | April 06, 2009 at 11:36 PM

Great idea - FYI - Chris Holden and Rob Tulk of Pizza Box 2000, from Windsor, Ontario have already designed something very similar.

by Mads | January 27, 2010 at 5:35 PM

This is a great design. Even if it is not a dramatic world saver, at least it raises awareness that environmental issues are important to people.

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