If you've ever spent time at college, or even crashed for a weekend in a friend's dorm, you'll know that students love their pizza. Case in point, one resourceful student at the University of Maine, with enrollment of 11,500 students, calculated that more than 17,000 pizzas are delivered to the campus each month, equating to 25 tons of waste each academic year. Considering there are 2,680 colleges and universities in the U.S., the number of pizza boxes that end up on campuses becomes even more staggering.
Such a volume poses a significant challenge for campuses around the country. Regular pizza boxes don't fit in school recycling bins and trash chutes and routinely sit for days on end in the dorm rooms of students until they finally find the gumption to figure out a way to dispose of them. In fact, according to a manager of one of University of Pennsylvania's largest college houses, pizza boxes are the "single biggest attractant of pests," as reported by the residence's extermination service.
Such a predicament is one of the many reasons why Pizza Boli's, a chain whose stores are situated on and near many a college campus, decided to provide an innovative solution. Pizza Boli's new SmartBox pizza box is perforated and scored, allowing for easy disposal into recycling, compost and trash bins (whichever disposal receptacle is required by the relevant municipalities). What's more, these perforations and scores allow the clever SmartBox to be broken down into plates and a storage container, thereby addressing age-old problems experienced by college students of (a) never having plates and (b) never being able to fit the pizza box with leftovers into a dorm room bar fridge.
With eye-catching new print ads and an entertaining new commercial (see below), Pizza Boli's is making sure that its green pizza box technology makes a huge splash with its customers. With future green initiatives on the horizon, Pizza Boli's even calls out a website page on its new box that will highlight its ongoing efforts on this front.
The message to pizza operators? Look for sustainable solutions that will have a direct positive impact on your community and don't worry about starting small! Going green does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Every little bit helps when it comes to the environment and small changes by every pizzeria create a big impact overall. Most importantly, don't be shy when it comes to touting your efforts to go green. Being a 'green leader' in your community will pay off handsomely in the long term via customer goodwill, loyalty and increased sales.
Jennifer Wright is the CFO of Ecovention, LLC, a design, licensing and manufacturing firm dedicated to improving outmoded, outdated and wasteful food packaging. Ecovention’s first product, the GreenBox, is a pizza box made from 100% recycled material that breaks into plates and a storage carton.