Friday, 13 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Samantha M. Botros, Wichita, KS
Our goal was to limit the number of pizza boxes in landfills by putting into action the mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle. We developed a plan to reduce waste by encouraging the use of reusable metal pizza pans in high-density delivery areas, by researching the suitability, durability, and expense of various material selections as well as various structural designs, and by meeting with various city officials in two states to discuss our recommendations. In low-density delivery areas, we proposed eliminating the use of the plastic spacer found within disposable boxes completely by simply baking a dome-shaped lump of pizza dough, of bread, in the center of the pizza. This is an environmentally-friendly and edible modification that eliminates cheese and grease contamination of the pizza box lid. We redesigned the scoring of disposable boxes, allowing for the reuse of these boxes as serving plates and leftover storage. We visited recycling facilities and interviewed recycling facility business owners to determine the practical and economic issues of composite materials (which must be resold as mixed paper and have a diminished “cycling down” capacity) versus unattached liners on corrugated cardboard. We researched possible pizza box liners to protect the corrugated cardboard from the grease-contamination that would otherwise prevent the box from being fully recycled. Finally, we researched other measures, such as discontinuing the use of pressure-sensitive adhesives, particularly those containing Diisobutyl Phthalate (DIBP), to attach advertisements and coupons. This toxin can become volatile at high temperatures, such as during the reheating of a pizza within its box, and contaminate the pizza within, putting the consumer at risk for harmful effects on their endocrine system. We propose that the continued use of pressure-sensitive adhesives should be banned and that warnings concerning the dangers of reheating pizzas within their boxes be placed on every box to increase the safety of the use of recycled cardboard.