Oct. 13, 2009
ECO Inc., a maker of environmentally friendly and multifunctional packaging, will debut its first product, the GreenBox, on Monday in Manhattan. The Greenbox is a pizza box made from 100 percent recycled material that also breaks down into serving plates and a storage container for leftover pizza.
Young entrepreneur William Walsh, CEO and founder of ECO Incorporated, got the idea to make a fully recycled-materials pizza box that was multifunctional during college, when the fridge and trashcan he shared with his friends became cluttered with such packages. Walsh said he found the entire experience both wasteful and unwieldy. He stated the figure that 2.4 billion pizza boxes are circulated every year—most of the "recycled" ones really made from 70 virgin wood.
"(The industry is) mowing down tree after tree for boxes that are used for 45 minutes and then thrown away," Walsh said. "So I thought, there's a lot of material to work with (on a pizza box); I wanted to make something intuitive, easy to use, and that had some value. â€¦ We made it multifunctional so it was more than just a delivery device, and came up with this design."
The GreenBox has perforations that allow its bottom to be turned into several cardboard pizza plates. Its top detaches and folds into a pizza storage box for leftovers.
Equally as innovative as the company's design and vision is the way Walsh and co. started marketing their materials, sending prolific celebrity Twitter fanatic Ashton Kutcher a tweet about their wares to get things off the ground.
"We're new to Twitter, but we knew it was something that could help us with our marketing," said Jennifer Wright, the company's CFO. "So we sent him a tweet, â€˜check out the Greenbox' and he (published a tweet) that said, â€˜Smart,' and a link to the YouTube video. And that night we had well over 20,000 hits from that; following that, it got picked up by Digg and became a viral hit, and had thousands and thousands of people going to our site."
Though GreenBox has yet to make its first public launch, it already has what you might call preliminary market penetrations: The company has hundreds of inquiries, and has contracted with New Jersey's Imperial Bag & Paper to distribute their first samples domestically. They're also shipping samples to Italy and Canada. And Wright and Walsh couldn't reveal the name of the large chain grocer who might use their boxes for its in-store pizza items, but that's in the works, too.
Walsh says the green packaging company will be introducing other new products for the pizza industry soon after the impending release. The GreenBox unveiling event will be held on Oct. 19 from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at V&T Pizzeria, located at 1024 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan.