You Like That to Go?
the ongoing campaign for environmental sustainability, big
initiatives make the news, but it’s the little ideas, collected
into everyday actions, that will ultimately bring about necessary
Take, for example, pizza boxes—the cardboard kind
that house your steaming pie and soak with grease after it’s
eaten. Because of that grease, those pizza boxes are not
recyclable, and clog the landfills by the millions.
Harun Iyigel, co-owner
of Pizza Amore on Green Street, displays one of three
reusable pizza boxes employed by the restaurant.
Reusable, plastic pizza boxes, an idea being tried this summer
at Smith on a pilot basis.
Spearheaded by Katherine McCusker,
mentoring coordinator in the Clark Science Center, the reusable
pizza boxes initiative will circulate three plastic pizza
carry-out containers used by the Green Street restaurant
Pizza Amore. Each container will be washed by Pizza Amore
personnel after each use. The reusable boxes are estimated
to last for 500 uses by the product manufacturer, , and are recyclable at the end of their usability.
“I order a lot of food as part of my job,” says McCusker, “and therefore throw
out the food containers, such as pizza boxes. The waste piles up and it occurred
to me that it should be possible to use reusable containers instead of throwaway.”
McCusker, with the support of
Heather McQueen, administrative assistant supervisor in Clark
Science Center, approached Pizza Amore about the idea, and
the partnership was born.
In addition to the positive
environmental impact, reusable pizza containers save money
and manufacturing resources, says McCusker. One cardboard
pizza box costs about $.75, or $375 for 500 versus $13 for
one reusable container, usable 500 times.
McCusker and McQueen
are watching the pilot phase of the program to determine
if the DMS boxes will work well in the long term and to answer
other questions. “If we conclude reusable boxes are the way to go, we’d like to see
them used all over campus,” she says, “and spread the idea to other campuses.
Also, if Pizza Amore is successful with them other pizza parlors in town might
While she expects a positive
reaction at Smith to the reusable boxes, McCusker is realistic. “I wouldn’t expect a wholesale, overnight change or anything,” she
says, “but if some of us show that it’s a workable proposition, I don’t see why
it wouldn’t take off.”
McCusker and McQueen hope to
explore employing reusable containers on campus with other
types of food as well—multiple little ideas contributing to the big
“The impact of a reusable pizza box is obviously not the same as properly insulating
a building,” she says, “but I’m a believer in the every-bit-counts strategy.
The cumulative affect of many little changes will help get us to our sustainable