pizza-boxIn the classic cyberpunk novel, Snow Crash, author Neal Stephenson envisions a future when America does only four things well: movies, music, software, and high-speed pizza delivery. Unlike the first three, which experience a constant state of disruption, pizza has resisted change. It’s prepared and delivered pretty much like it was 40 years ago. You call (maybe order online), give your address and ask for extra cheese, pepperoni, maybe some mushrooms, and about 30 minutes later some shlub drives, pedals or walks the steaming pie to your door. After you chow down on the pizza you chuck the box in the recycling.

I don’t know about you, but it ever occurred to me that the words “innovative” and “pizza box” could appear in the same sentence. But thanks to Greenbox, which markets the so-called “pizza box of the 21st century,” they can. It’s made from 100 percent recycled cardboard and the top is perforated so you can tear it into four serving plates. The bottom folds in half and doubles as a storage container for leftovers, and because it’s small enough it nestles nicely in your fridge without knocking over yogurt containers. Watch this short video for a demonstration.

The “convertible pizza box” is patented (no. 7051919). Why not, right? Next time you grab a Starbuck’s notice the cardboard sleeve. It lists patents, and all the sleeve does is protect your hand from a hot mochachino. But the convertible pizza box serves no less than three distinct purposes: it’s a delivery container, plates, and storage for leftovers.

The abstract on the patent says it all:

A space saving box and a box useful for pizza and other relatively flat food products is provided. The box generally includes a one piece cardboard or paperboard blank having a first portion hingedly connected to a second portion. The blank is structured to include various score lines such that first and second portions are formable into a full sized pizza box. In addition, the blank is structured such that, when separated from the second portion, the first portion is formable into a reduced sized, space saving box having a tapering depth, for facilitating storage of leftover pizza slices, for example.

Meanwhile, the images remind me of instructions you’d find in a book on origami.

US07051919-20060530-D00000

Unfortunately none of the pizzerias my family orders from uses the Greenbox. We usually end up with the traditional — and humdrum — “You’ve tried all the rest, now try the best” pizza boxes. Hopefully that will change soon.

[illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]