Designing Something That Won't Last

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Engineering


Department of Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Amy Moll


Currently there are around 3 billion pizza boxes thrown away every year in the US [1]. Most pizza boxes used for delivery or for take-out are made from corrugated cardboard. Difficulties occur during recycling of pizza boxes, because of contamination with grease. Grease interferes with recycling and causes the recycled paper slurry to not bond properly. HP Boise presented our team with the task of investigating and developing options for a more sustainable pizza box. In addition, Flying Pie Pizzeria expressed interest in a compostable pizza box. We have developed a compostable pizza box using a material similar to cardboard. This box can be placed in the City of Boise’s green composting bins to be commercially composted by the Curb It program. A compostable box will reduce the instances of contamination within recycling and reduce the volume of boxes in landfills, as it will decompose over time. We have tested our prototype by studying how it withstands the heat and grease released by a pizza and its ability to maintain a food safe temperature for half an hour.


[1] R. Webster. “Innovative Pizza Box Inventions and Where Used Boxes Go: Recycling Bin, Compost, or Yard Waste”. Environment911.com. http://www.environment911.org/Innovative_Pizza_Box_Inventions_and_Where_Used_B\oxes_Go_Recycling_Bin_Compost_or_Yard_Waste

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