By George P. Hassett
Call it cutting down on your pizza footprint. A Ball Square pizza spot is the first restaurant on the east coast, and the ninth in the country, to offer environmentally-conscious customers reusable plastic boxes for take-out pizza orders.
The best news for pizza purists: the new boxes actually make a pie taste better - unlike cardboard, the cheese never sticks to the plastic.
Owner Grover Taylor said he was inspired to pursue plastic boxes last year when he served 250 pizzas at Tufts University's freshman orientation and saw the pies and cardboard boxes destroyed in less than 10 minutes. "It was awful," he said. "There was cardboard everywhere."
Industry experts estimate 200 million pounds of cardboard boxes are used each year, and most of that can't be recycled because it has come into contact with food.
Taylor discovered the reusable, plastic pizza box and is now taking pre-orders at $10 for each "hybrid" box. Eat at Jumbo's is offering customers $1 off a pizza if they reuse the washable box.
"It's been a great response, we've pre-sold 12 boxes already," Taylor said. "It's not for everybody. The ones who like it most are our regular customers who actually care about the environment. And I think our customers here in Somerville care about the environment more than most."
Taylor, who opened Eat at Jumbo's 14 months ago, said he plans to present the trend to Tufts' Office of Sustainability.